You know how we joke around and say ‘I almost had a stroke’?
Well, it’s not really funny if you or someone you love actually
has one. And there’s no time for humor from the onset of symptoms
until the stroke victim is receiving qualified medical help. According
to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke
is the number five cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability
in the United States. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds;
someone dies of a stroke every four minutes; and 795,000 people suffer
a new or recurrent stroke each year.
First, it’s important to understand what a stroke is. It’s
a brain injury caused by the interruption of blood flow. And because the
brain isn’t getting oxygen and nutrients from blood, a stroke victim’s
brain tissue can begin to die within minutes. When it comes to a stroke,
time lost is brain lost. So recognizing the signs of stroke and acting
quickly literally saves the brain and offers the best chance of recovery.
An easy way to remember the signs and what to do if you suspect someone
is having a stroke is to us the American Heart/American Stroke Association’s
F.A.S.T. approach to recognizing this potentially fatal attack.
Face Drooping: Is one side of the person’s face drooping or numb?
Ask the person to smile and see if one side doesn’t move up.
Arm Weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms
and see if one drifts down.
Speech Difficulty: Is their speech slurred? Are they unable to speak or
understand? Ask the person to say a simple sentence like ‘the sky
Time to call 911: Even if you think symptoms are subsiding, call 911 and
get the person to the hospital as quickly as possible for care. Check
the time so that you can let the medical personnel know when the symptoms started.
Getting immediate treatment for a stroke is necessary to open the blocked
blood vessel that caused it. The sooner blood flow is restored, the more
likely the person will benefit from a reduction in the chance of a stroke
in the future, improved function affected by the stroke, and be able to
overcome disabilities caused by the stroke.
Remember time lost is brain lost. For more information on the warning signs
of stroke or services offered at our hospital for stroke patients, call
our toll free health information and physician referral line at 850-864-0213.