Recently, a good friend of ours had a stroke. I used to think that strokes were something that only happened to old people. That’s not true. Our friend is not old. A little over 12 years ago another person I was friendly with had a stroke. She was only in her 50’s and didn’t survive. So over the last week or so I’ve been thinking. Most people are aware of the signs of a heart attack but how many of us are aware of the signs of a stroke.
The following information is from the American Stroke Association web site.
SPOT A STROKE F.A.S.T.
F.A.S.T. is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of a stroke. When you can spot the signs, you’ll know quickly that you need to call 9-1-1 for help. This is important because the sooner a stroke victim gets to the hospital, the sooner they’ll get treatment. And that can make a remarkable difference in their recovery.F.A.S.T. is:
Face Drooping Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
Arm Weakness Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Speech Difficulty Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “the sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
Time to call 911 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.
What to do if you think someone is having a stroke
Immediately call 9-1-1 or the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) number so an ambulance can be sent. Also, check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared. A clot-busting drug called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) may improve the chances of getting better but only if you get them help right away.
A TIA or transient ischemic attack is a “warning stroke” or “mini-stroke” that produces stroke-like symptoms. TIA symptoms usually only last a few minutes but, if left untreated, people who have TIAs have a high risk of stroke. Recognizing and treating TIAs can reduce the risk of a major stroke.
Beyond F.A.S.T. — Other Symptoms you should know
Sudden numbness or weakness of the leg
Sudden confusion or trouble understanding
Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
Sudden severe headache with no known cause
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