A stroke refers to a blood vessel in the brain bursting or, more commonly, being blocked, resulting in oxygen not being delivered (via red blood cells) to the brain.
Without treatment, cells in the brain quickly begin to die. The result can be serious disability or death, which is why stroke is a medical emergency and a leading cause of death in the United States.
That is why it is important that we recognize a stroke when it is happening, either in ourselves or in a loved one, so that emergency medical attention can be obtained without delay.
The information below is from WebMD:
Signs of a stroke may include:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the body, especially on one side.
- Sudden vision changes in one or both eyes, or difficulty swallowing.
- Sudden, severe headache with unknown cause.
- Sudden problems with dizziness, walking, or balance.
- Sudden confusion, difficulty speaking or understanding others.
Call 911 immediately if you notice any of these symptoms.
simple test to determine if someone has had a Stroke
If you suspect someone you know has had a stroke, give him/her the F.A.S.T. test:
- Face. Ask the person to smile. Does one side of his/her face droop?
- Arms. Ask the person to raise his/her arms. Does one arm drift down?
- Speech. Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence after you? Does he or she have trouble speaking or slur words?
- Time. Time is critical. Call 911 immediately if any symptoms are present.
Time = Brain Damage
Every second counts when seeking treatment for a stroke. When deprived of oxygen, brain cells begin dying within minutes. There are clot-busting drugs that can curb brain damage, but they need to be used within three hours — up to 4.5 hours in some people — of the initial stroke symptoms. Once brain tissue has died, the body parts controlled by that area won’t work properly. This is why stroke is a top cause of long-term disability.
Diagnosing a Stroke
When someone with stroke symptoms arrives in the ER, the first step is to determine which type of stroke is occurring. There are two main types and they are not treated the same way. A CT scan can help doctors determine whether the symptoms are coming from a blocked blood vessel or a bleeding vessel. Additional tests may also be used to find the location of a blood clot or bleeding within the brain.