Recognizing the Signs of a Stroke

Recognizing the Signs of a Stroke

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel within the brain is blocked or ruptures. When a stroke occurs the parts of the brain that are deprived of oxygen start to die. The parts of the body that are controlled by the damaged part of the brain do not function properly. Recognizing the symptoms of a stroke and getting medical treatment quickly can help limit the damage and increase the chance of recovery.

There are two types of strokes, ischemic and hemorrhagic. An ischemic stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel in the brain. The clot may have traveled to the brain from another part of the body, or the vessel itself may be clogged due to a buildup of fatty deposits. Ischemic strokes are the most common type of strokes. A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when an artery in the brain leaks or bursts, causing bleeding in the brain. The artery may have become weakened due to an aneurysm or other disorder affecting the blood vessels. This is a less common type of stroke, but is more difficult to treat and more deadly.

Recognizing the signs of a stroke and getting prompt medical treatment are essential to the person’s chance of recovery. The following list of symptoms indicates that a stroke may be occurring.

A� Sudden numbness, tingling, weakness, or paralysis on one side of the body

A� Sudden trouble speaking

A� Sudden vision changes

A� Sudden problems with walking or balance

A� Sudden confusion or difficulty understanding simple statements

A� Sudden severe headache that is different from past headaches

According to the National Stroke Association, an easy way to evaluate for stroke is to remember the acronym FAST.

A� F- (Face) Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

A� A- (Arms) Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

A� S- (Speech) Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?

A� T- (Time) If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately. Note the time you experienced the first symptoms.

A stroke is a medical emergency. Seek medical help immediately. Do not wait to see if symptoms go away. Every minute counts. If treated quickly, there are medications that can help the stroke patient have a better recovery.