Stroke: Know the Risk Before You’re at Risk
Worldwide, it is estimated that six people die from stroke every 60 seconds.
Even if you do not possess any of the risk factors associated with stroke, knowing the warning signs could help you save someone else’s life.
A stroke occurs when a blood vessel, traveling to the brain, is blocked by a clot or bursts. In both cases blood flow, and thus oxygen flow, to the brain is disrupted resulting in cell death and the loss of various cognitive functions.
When a stroke occurs, many people lose the ability to call for help. Speech, motor control and awareness can all be affected; some people may not even realize they are having a stroke. A knowledgeable friend, family member or coworker can make all the difference in survival and disability. As a result, the National Stroke Association created the Act FAST campaign:
- Face – When the person smiles does one side of the face droop?
- Arms – Can the person raise both arms without one drifting downward?
- Speech – When asked to speak does the person slur?
- Time – If you observe these symptoms, call 911 immediately.
Additional potential symptoms of stroke include:
- A sudden headache that gets worse when changing positions, bending or coughing
- Change in alertness (e.g. sleepiness, unconsciousness)
- Loss of senses (e.g. difficulty hearing, tasting, seeing, feeling pain or pressure)
- Confusion or loss of memory
- Dizziness, vertigo or loss of coordination
- Numbness or tingling on one side of the body
If you notice any of these warning signs, contact a medical official immediately and take the person to the hospital.
Regardless of the severity of your stroke, it is critical to take a proactive and informed approach to your post-stroke care. While leaving the hospital setting can be daunting, the return home is a major, positive step in the recovery process.