Stroke is the second leading cause of disability in the world. Worldwide, 15 million people suffer strokes each year and a third of them die as a result. Another third becomes permanently disabled. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States.
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to an area of the brain is cut off. The symptoms depend upon the region of the brain that is affected by the loss of blood supply and can include changes in sensation or motor control.
High cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, stress and depression as well as smoking are all the huge risk factors.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the time is of the essence when someone is having a stroke. Treatment within the hour can actually avoid long-term disability or even death.
Whether you believe it or not, there are warning signs of a stroke before it actually happens. If you’re able to recognize the symptoms of a stroke, you can reverse the effects of a stroke and save someone’s life!
But first, let us tell you a story what can happen if you can’t identify the symptoms of a stroke.
During a BBQ, a woman stumbled and took a little fall – she assured everyone that she was fine and she said she had just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes.
They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food. While she appeared a bit shaken up, Jane went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening.
After she went home, Jane’s husband called later, telling everyone that she had been taken to the hospital (at 6:00 PM Jane passed away). The doctors told that Jane had suffered a stroke at BBQ.
This story tells that if the people around her had known how to recognize the symptoms of a stroke, perhaps she would still be alive.
Identifying a stroke
This article will reveal some of the most common warning signs that will help you to identify the symptoms of a stroke. Here are some of the most important:
1. Face drooping: Does one side of the face look droopy or lopsided? It is recommended to ask the person to smile in order to see if their smile is lopsided or uneven.
2. Arm weakness: People who are suffering from a stroke can usually have unexpected weakness or numbness in their body, and it is commonly concentrated on just one side. Experts recommend asking the affected person to raise their arms above their head, can they do it? Is one arm significantly lower than the other?
3. Speech difficulty: Trouble in speaking clearly and tending to slur words are often signs of people affected by stroke. It is suggested to ask the person to repeat what they are saying in order to be sure if they are slurring.
4. A severe headache: A symptom of a stroke can be a severe and sudden headache, especially when paired with other symptoms. Most of these symptoms can occur in way of a migraine. So, it would be worth the try if you ask the person if a headache he/she experiencing is out of the ordinary for them. Always call for medical help if in doubt.
5. Change in vision: According to experts, unexpected double-vision or blindness in one eye can be a symptom of an approaching stroke.
6. Confusion: The Stroke Association has listed unexpected confusion as one of the symptoms of stroke. This can actually mean that an uncharacteristic inability to understand other people or even to articulate thoughts.
7. Balance issues: Someone who is suffering from stroke may experience unexpected problems with balance, as well as coordination. If you are not sure, you could ask them to touch their finger to their nose, or even walk in a straight line.
New sign of a stroke – Stick out your tongue
You should ask the person to ‘stick’ out their tongue. If the tongue is ‘crooked’, if it goes to one side or the other, this is another sign of a stroke.
Time is extremely important when you or someone else has been showing the early symptoms of a stroke, and if you would not remember all of these signs then memorize this simple pneumonic from the American Stroke Association: F.A.S.T.
- F: Face dropping
- A: Arm weakness
- S: Speech difficulty
- T: Time to call 911