Every year more than 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke, about 610,000 of them for the first time. Stroke kills almost 130,000 Americans each year and according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) one American dies from stroke every 4 minutes. The majority of strokes – about 87% of them – are what are called ischemic strokes that occur when blood flow to the brain is blocked. Do you know the warning signs of a stroke? Would you be able to quickly identify if a loved one was having a stroke?
The National Stroke Association has made it easy to remember the warning signs of stroke by creating the acronym FAST. It stands for the most common signs and symptoms of stroke and the importance of acting quickly.
Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is speech slurred or garbled?
Time: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.
Other symptoms of stroke can include sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes, sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination or a sudden severe headache with no known cause.
It’s important to educate yourself and others involved in caring for your loved one about the warning signs of stroke. In a CDC survey, 93% of respondents recognized sudden numbness on one side as a symptom of stroke. However, only 38% were aware of all the major symptoms of stroke and knew to call 9-1-1 in the event someone was having one.
Acting quickly in the event of a stroke is absolutely essential. There is a very narrow time frame within which medication can be administered to mitigate the long-term impact of a stroke. Also, the chances of survival are greater when emergency treatment begins quickly. Patients who arrive at the emergency room within 3 hours of their first symptoms tend to have less disability 3 months after a stroke than those who received delayed care. It is important to note that the success in treating stroke is three hours from the first symptoms, not from time of the 911 call or arrival at the emergency room. That means that any delay in getting treatment for a stroke will impact the success of treatment.
Some risk factors for stroke can’t be controlled, such as heredity, age, gender, and ethnicity. However, managing risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity can reduce the risk of stroke.
To reduce the risk of your loved one suffering a stroke help them to avoid smoking and drinking too much alcohol. Encourage them to eat a balanced diet and get exercise. Home Care Assistance can help you with daily and hourly at home care.
If your loved one has suffered a stroke, we can provide specialized care for the transition from hospital to home. A stroke can be an extremely challenging medical event to cope with and recover from; patients must simultaneously overcome physical, cognitive and emotional challenges and many stroke survivors report frustrations with the recovery process. We can help you to take a proactive and informed approach to post-stroke care for your loved one in order to help ease the physical and emotional stress.
Get help with stroke care here.