Did you know 795,000 people in the U.S. have a stroke annually?
Unfortunately, 610,000 are first-timers and have no idea what is going on due to a lack of knowledge of stroke symptoms. When it comes to a stroke, time is of the essence. To act fast and help save someone’s life when a stroke occurs, you must know what to identify.
Knowledge may be power, but it’s also lifesaving. Below, we’ll outline five symptoms you’re having a stroke. But, first, let’s define what we’re dealing with.
What Is a Stroke?
A stroke occurs when the blood supply is either significantly lessened or completely blocked to the brain. In which case, it prevents the proper oxygen and nutrient supply from being delivered to the brain.
A stroke damages the brain in much the same way a heart attack damages the heart. Inadequate nutrients to the brain cause the cells to die off, creating significant damage and, in many cases, death.
An ischemic stroke takes place when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel to the brain. Then there are hemorrhagic strokes which occur upon the rupturing of a blood vessel. Ischemic strokes are responsible for 87% of all strokes, making them more common than hemorrhagic strokes.
If a possible stroke ever strikes someone near you, look for these five signs of stroke symptoms to help you assess the situation and go from there.
1. Loss of Functionality
There are many ways the loss of motor function can occur. Since a stroke cuts off oxygen and nutrients to any number of areas in the brain, whatever section of the brain the stroke is connected to is where a lack of motor function will present itself.
For example, if the section of the brain where the stroke is taking place is responsible for the movement of the left arm, the left arm will not function properly. Unfortunately, the loss of function in that left arm may never come back once the stroke occurs.
2. Sudden Weakness
Most of us struggle with an afternoon slump where we feel tired and ready for a nap. However, that isn’t the tiredness associated with a stroke.
When someone is having a stroke, they will feel like they’re entirely out of it all of a sudden. They might feel like they were just given the worlds’ fastest-acting sleeping pill and can’t comprehend things as expected. They may have slurred speech due to a lack of supply to the speech parts of the brain. Comprehension may also not be an option. Thus, it’s important to recognize these signs to help save their lives. Numbness or a droopy face is common. In addition, regular facial expressions such as a smile may prove problematic during and after a stroke.
3. Loss of Sight
Before a stroke, you may experience what is known as TIA, otherwise known as a transient ischemic attack or a “mini-stroke.” More often than not, a TIA occurs and causes a loss of sight that can be recovered.
You may suddenly have double vision, blurred vision, or blackened vision in one or both eyes may also occur. If these symptoms, among others, such as loss of motor skills or slurred speech, arise, it is crucial to get help immediately as you are likely having a stroke.
4. Sudden Loss of Balance
A stroke interrupts the signals sent to the nerves controlling the muscles in our bodies. Therefore, when someone is suffering a stroke, they lose control of their motor functions, causing them to lose balance. The loss of balance can be associated with our eyes, ears, joints, and muscles. Which is another reason someone would possibly lose their balance during a stroke.
Some lose all feeling on one side of their body altogether.
5. Abnormally Severe Headache
Everyone at some point in their lives has likely suffered from a headache. Usually, the cause can be identified as a lack of sleep, water, or nutrients in the diet.
When a stroke occurs, there is sudden brain damage happening to one of the blood vessels causing bleeding and pressure. If there is a headache happening for no apparent reason, it could be a blood vessel rupturing. Wherever the pain is radiating from is where the stroke is happening.
Strokes and Stroke Symptoms: Act F.A.S.T.
Here’s a simple way of looking at things. With strokes being among the top ten killers in the world today, acting F.A.S.T. could help save someone’s life.
Try to have the person smile. If they have a droopy face or one side of their face is not responding at all, there’s a significant problem and cause for concern.
If the person can listen to you and understand you, ask them to lift both arms into the air. If one arm cannot rise or droops downward, then that person may be suffering a stroke. Ask the person struggling to repeat something simple that you say. Listen carefully for slurred or strange speech.
Time is of the essence when someone is suffering a stroke and is displaying these stroke symptoms. Without delay, call 911 or some form of emergency help near you for immediate hospitalization. Every minute counts, so don’t wait to see if their symptoms cease to exist.
There’s a greater risk of brain damage or disability the longer a stroke goes untreated.
Cardiology Care for You
Protect your heart today by arming yourself with added knowledge. For more help recognizing the signs and symptoms of strokes, educate yourself so you know what to look for in your own health, schedule your screening today!
At Greenwich Medical Associates, they aim to educate and empower our patients towards a healthier life. Dr. Glenn Gandelman and Dr. Marcus Mayus are board-certified and are here to take the stress out of your cardiology needs. If you live in the tri-state area, they look forward to joining you on your health journey today.