Strokes are scary because of the serious effects they can have on someone, but also because they can be difficult to identify. Identifying the possible signs of a stroke in a timely fashion is the best way to ensure the person afflicted recovers as best as they can. There are treatments available for stroke victims, but it’s essential to get them to a hospital in a timely manner as the treatments can be less effective the more time that passes between the stroke and the treatment.
Strokes are caused by blockages or hemorrhaging in the brain which causes blood to be unable to properly reach other areas of the brain which can, unfortunately, result in serious side effects if not dealt with immediately. If you think someone is having a stroke, the most important thing for you to do is not to panic. You want to look for signs of a stroke and if you notice or suspect any, call 911 right away. Even if you have doubts about the signs, err on the side of caution and call 911. To help you identify the signs of a stroke in a moment where you may be panicking, just remember the acronym F.A.S.T.
The F in F.A.S.T stands for Face drooping. Take a look at a close look at their face if you think they are having a stroke. Is their face drooping? Is one side pulled down while the other remains normal? Is there anything out of the ordinary about their face? Ask them to smile. Is the smile uneven? Does one corner pull down? If so, they might be having a stroke and you should call 911.
The A in F.A.S.T stands for Arm weakness. If you believe that someone is having a stroke, ask them to raise both of their arms. Does one side remain unsteady? Do they wobble? Is one side drooping lower than the other? If so, this might be a sign of a stroke.
The S in F.A.S.T stands for Speech difficulty. Ask the person who you believe is having a stroke to speak. Is their speech slurred? Are they slower to get out words than normal? Do they have trouble speaking? Is their speech hard to understand? Choose a sentence that is simple and easy to say and ask them to repeat it, such as “Nice to meet you.” Are they having trouble repeating you? Is their speech slurred or otherwise strange when saying the sentence? If so, this might be another sign of a stroke.
Time to Call 911
The T in F.A.S.T stands for Time to call 911. If you notice any of the symptoms shown in the first three letters, then it’s time to immediately call 911. Time is of the essence, as the more time that passes between the stroke and treatment, the more likely it is that permanent damage can be caused. Sometimes a stroke can lead to the end of one’s life, which is why this matter needs to be taken so seriously. The best thing you can do to help the person afflicted is don’t wait and don’t hesitate, call 911 right away if you have any suspicion they are suffering from a stroke.
Studies have shown that stroke victims recover far better when they receive treatment within three hours of having the stroke, so never wait or second guess yourself. Note the time when you first notice these signs as this information can be crucial to the hospital staff in choosing the right treatment for the patient. You should never drive a person who is showing signs of a stroke to the hospital yourself. Not only are you in a state of panic, but by calling 911 and receiving an ambulance, you’re allowing the stroke victim to get help that much quicker from the paramedics. Calling 911 as soon as possible can help you save their life.
Other Notable Signs of a Stroke
The symptoms in F.A.S.T are not the only signs of a stroke to look out for. Strokes can have many other, sometimes subtle, symptoms. Some signs that you can look for in yourself, or take note of someone complaining about, are a sudden numbness or a pin prickling feeling in one part of your body. You may even have trouble seeing in one or both eyes, or you may have trouble walking properly. Symptoms can manifest as fatigue or headaches, maybe even weakness or shortness of breath. There can also be fainting, confusion, sudden behavioral changes, irritation, hallucinations, nausea or vomiting, pain, seizures, hiccups, or unresponsiveness. These symptoms can be overwhelming and scary, but do your best not to panic and call 911 right away.
What to Do Afterwards
So what can you do if a loved one has suffered a stroke? Following a stroke you can be left confused, emotionally drained, and unsure what the next steps are to take. If the stroke victim is elderly, you might want to consider hiring an in home care agency to help you out during this difficult time. In home care personnel are equipped and more than capable of taking care of your loved one. They know how to navigate this delicate situation with patience and understanding so that they are able to provide the best care possible. In home care personnel are also able to help guide them through therapy and help them perform daily activities. To help ease your mind and make the vital recovery process a little easier, call an in home care agency. They will be able to help you and your loved one in any way possible.