Help Someone Survive a Stroke by Spotting the Symptoms

Heart pain is a symptom of a stroke

If you know how to spot the symptoms, you could help someone survive a stroke. Strokes can happen to anyone. In fact, someone has a stroke every 40 seconds in the U.S.

What is a Stroke

There are two main types of stroke:

  • Ischemic stroke 87% of all strokes in the U.S. are ischemic strokes. An ischemic stroke happens when a blood vessel to the brain is blocked. A “transient ischemic attack” (TIA) happens when blood flow to the brain is temporarily blocked for a short time. It then resumes and all symptoms disappear. This is also called a “ministroke.”
  • Hemorrhagic stroke This stroke happens when blood seeps into the brain due to either a leaking aneurysm or a weakened blood vessel.

Spot the Symptoms and Survive a Stroke

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA) has an easy was to spot the symptoms of stroke: F.A.S.T. This stands for:  face drooping, arm weakness, speech difficulty and time to call 911. Let’s look at each.

  • Face Drooping Is one side of the face drooping or numb? Is the person’s smile uneven or lopsided?
  • Arm Weakness Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms and watch to see if one arm drifts downward.
  • Speech Is the person’s speech slurred making it hard to understand him? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence.
  • Time to Call 9-1-1 If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately. Brain damage begins to happen very quickly. Brain cells begin dying within a few minutes of not getting oxygen. The faster you get help, the better the chances of recovery.

More Warning Signs

Here are some other signs to watch out for. They need to be immediately checked out.

  • sudden confusion
  • severe and unexplained headaches
  • difficulty with vision
  • dizziness or sudden numbness on one side of the body.

When you call 911 and describe your symptoms, upon recognizing you may be having a stroke, paramedics in most areas of the country will automatically take you to the nearest designated stroke center. Here you will receive comprehensive care.

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