Learning what the symptoms of a stroke look like can be life-saving information.
A stroke is caused when the blood supply carried through blood vessels to the brain are blocked or cut off. When this occurs necessary oxygen and nutrients are not able to get to the brain causing brain cells to die. A stroke is treatable and preventable. Knowing the symptoms of a stroke can get you or your loved one the medical treatment required faster.
Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and the leading cause of adult disability in the U.S.
That is why the American Stroke Association created F.A.S.T – an easy to remember acronym to help us easily detect symptoms of a stroke. This can aide us to act quickly in case of a medical emergency.
F- Face Drooping – Ask the person to smile. Is their smile uneven?
A- Arm Weakness – Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S- Speech Difficulty – Is the person hard to understand? Is their speech slurred or strange?
T- Time – If you observe any of these signs, it’s time to call 911
Another newer way to check for a stroke is ask the person to stick out their tongue. If the tongue is “crooked”, or goes to one side or another, that could also be an indication of a stroke.
Although F.A.S.T is a great way to detect symptoms of a stroke quickly there are other warning signs you should also be looking for.
Sudden Weakness or Numbness on One Side of the Body
Because our brains control different parts of our body, the blood flow to our brains will impact our movement. Suddenly feeling weakness or numbness in one side of the body (especially an arm) or trouble with balance could be due to the loss of blood flow to the corresponding part of the brain.
Similar to the issue of numbness of the body, Vision can seem interrupted or unfocused. Instead of losing vision in one eye, it is more common to lose a field of vision in both eyes. The eyeball itself is an optic nerve, but how the information is sent to the brain could possibly be damaged, causing vision issues.
Severe headaches… Very painful “worst headache of my life” kind of pain is a big warning sign. This kind of headache could be caused by a hemorrhagic stroke. A hemorrhagic stroke is when the brain begins to bleed into itself. This requires immediate medical attention and should be checked immediately.
It is Difficult to Read or Understand Speech
The left side of the brain is how we control language. If the left side of the brain is affected by a stroke you could experience aphasia. Aphasia is the loss of ability to express or understand speech. This, in turn, can make it hard to speak or even understand when people are speaking to us, causing signs of confusion. If you are feeling overwhelmingly distressed with not being able to speak or form coherent sentences, or are having severe difficulty reading or writing, it is time to seek a physician’s help.
It is extremely important to understand and be able to recognize symptoms of a stroke. Being informed can get you the medical help needed faster and get the treatment required. The sooner you can get medical help the better as it may minimize the long-term effects of a stroke and even prevent death. Thanks to recent research advances, stroke treatments and survival rates have improved greatly over the last ten years.