Velocity Care explains how to recognize when someone is having a stroke
If you or someone you care about were having a stroke, would you know? If your answer is no, you are not alone. Research has shown that more than 30 percent of Americans are unable to recognize signs of a potential stroke. May is National Stroke Month, so Velocity Care is here to explain the signs of a stroke and what to do when faced with this life-threatening situation.
What happens during a stroke?
A stroke occurs when the normal blood flow to the brain is disrupted. This is typically caused by a damaged blood vessel or clot. When this happens, the cells in that part of the brain begin to die from lack of the oxygen and nutrients they need to function. If your brain is damaged in this way, it can affect your whole body, potentially causing paralysis, speech and emotional issues.
What are the signs of a stroke?
In the midst of a health emergency, it can be hard to think straight. With a stroke, you should remember F-A-S-T.
If you notice that the person’s face looks uneven or lopsided, this is a problem. If you are unsure, ask them to smile so you can get a better view of their features.
Numbness or weakness in the arm is another telltale signal. When the person raises both arms, check to see if one arm tends to slide back down again.
It is common for stroke victims to slur words or speak incoherently. To test this, ask the victim to repeat a simple phrase, such as “The grass is green.” If he has difficulty with it, get help right away.
Time to call for help
Call 9-1-1 immediately and get the victim to an emergency room as soon as possible. A stroke victim might also act confused, have difficulty walking and have a terrible headache without a clear cause.
Are you at risk for a stroke?
Many people may not be aware that strokes are the fifth-leading cause of death in the U.S. and are a principal source of disability in adults. Protect yourself and those you love by knowing your risks.
- Some risks are hereditary. For example, if you have close relatives who have had a stroke, your chances may increase. Also, African Americans and Hispanics have an elevated risk for a stroke because of their higher risk for high blood pressure.
- Gender also plays a part. Women are more likely to suffer a stroke than men, and their strokes are more apt to be fatal. This may be due, to a certain extent, to pregnancy, smoking and the use of oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapies.
- Being overweight carries a host of problems that can lead to a stroke. It increases your risk for high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease, all of which makes you more susceptible to experiencing a stroke.
- Diet is a consideration as well. Consuming foods with lots of saturated fats, salt and cholesterol can raise blood pressure.
- Other diseases are an additional factor in stroke risk. Hypertension, diabetes, sickle cell and heart rhythm disorder can all increase your chances for a stroke.
Is there anything you can do to prepare?
- Learn more. The more informed you are about strokes and other health-related issues, the better your chances of minimizing the damaging effects.
- Pay attention. Signs of a stroke in others can be easy to miss when your face is buried in your smartphone or other technological device. When someone has a stroke, it is vital that they get emergency treatment within 60 minutes of the incident.
- Know the location of hospitals and urgent care facilities in your area. Since a stroke can happen to anyone, anywhere, you may need to transport the victim to a health care center yourself.
At Velocity Care Urgent Treatment Center, you can get emergency room treatment without the emergency room wait. Our trained, caring physicians are ready to provide exceptional, efficient care when you need it most.
Photo credit: 123RF Stock Photo
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