Stroke: The Warning Signs

2014-02-02T00:00:00Z Stroke: The Warning SignsGreen Shoot nwitimes.com
February 02, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Stroke is the fourth-leading cause of death in the United States, and if you’ve had heart issues in the past, you may be at greater risk.

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked or bursts. This cuts off vital blood and oxygen to the brain and causes cells to die.

People who have had heart attacks may be at increased risk for stroke, which is also linked to hereditary factors and lifestyle choices. It is important to act quickly if you feel that you or someone else is experiencing a stroke.

“Time lost is brain lost,” says the slogan of the American Heart Association.

Be sure to make note of what time the symptoms start, as this information could be crucial to medical professionals.

The American Stroke Association wants people to remember the acronym FAST for situations involving a potential stroke. Read what each letter stands for below, and remember to always call 911 immediately if you see these signs and symptoms.

F

Face Drooping: If either side of the face is drooping or numb, it’s time to call 911. The American Stroke Association advises that if it is hard to display a straight smile, then face drooping is probably occurring.

A

Arm Weakness: Strokes can cause weakness or numbness in the arms, making it difficult to raise them. Don’t brush this issue off as common aches and pains, like so many stroke victims in the past have done.

S

Speech Difficulty: Slurred and hard-to-understand speech are definite warning signs of a stroke. If repeating a simple phrase like “How are you today?” is difficult, a stroke could be taking place. Don’t spend very much time assessing the situation, call 911 immediately.

T

Time to call 911: Even if any of the above symptoms go away, call 911 immediately if you think either you or someone else may be having a stroke.

Other Symptoms

Remembering the FAST acronym is a great place to start, but you should also be aware of other symptoms of strokes.

They include sudden numbness or weakness of the leg, sudden confusion, sudden difficulty seeing in one or both eyes, dizziness, loss of balance and severe headache with no known cause.

Do not wait for these symptoms to dispel; seek immediate medical attention.

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