Know the Signs of a Stroke and What to Do if These Symptoms Surface

You may have had friends or family members experience a stroke or stroke-like symptoms, which is why it’s so critical to understand warning signs. If you are able to act quickly, you could potentially save your life or someone else’s.

Understand the Signs and Symptoms of a Stroke

Knowing what to do as soon as symptoms surface, could mean the difference in one’s ability to walk again. In Canada alone, a stroke is occurring every 10 minutes. Although strokes are often associated with the elderly population, younger individuals are now experiencing symptoms of a stroke.

When you understand the signs, you can act in a more timely fashion. A stroke is a medical emergency, so every second counts. Understanding the following signs could mean life or death. These symptoms typically happen very quickly, so it’s important to act as soon as symptoms are recognized.

1. Weakness: If you are experiencing a stroke, you may go numb or feel weak on one side of your body. This is typically experienced in one’s arms, legs, and face. If you notice that your loved one’s face is ‘drooping’ to one side, this may be an indication that a stroke is occurring.

2. Confusion: As mentioned, the onset of one’s confusion can be rapid. One minute a conversation may be flowing, whereas the next, an individual may not be able to speak or understand what you’re saying. If you or someone around you becomes highly confused, please be aware of this possibility.

3. Blurred Vision: If you begin to lose your vision, this is a sign that you’re potentially having a stroke. If someone around you begins to complain that they cannot see out of one or both eyes, then please take the next course of action.

4. Severe Headaches: We all get headaches, so this can be a challenging sign to catch. However, if you or a loved one begin to suffer from severe headaches without any known cause, it does not hurt to allow medical professionals to investigate further.

5. Loss of Balance: Before a stroke, victims tend to lose their balance and coordination. This may be seen through one’s difficulty walking for instance. You may also feel very dizzy all of a sudden.

What Can I Do About Potential Stroke Symptoms?

If you believe that you or a loved one are having a stroke, do not hesitate to contact emergency response units. A stroke is most certainly a medical emergency, which requires rapid actions to be taken. When someone is experiencing a reduction or cut-off in their blood flow to the brain, immediate treatment is needed. This timeframe can dictate how well a victim recovers from their stroke.

When you act fast, you or a loved one can be treated with a drug known as t-PA. This helps with ischemic strokes (which account for 80% or more of strokes). Since there’s a blockage of blood flow, this drug helps to dissolve any clots.

The ability to benefit from this drug is time sensitive. Patients need to be treated with t-PA within the first 3 hours. However, in order to be fully evaluated, victims typically need to get to a hospital within the first 60 minutes.

Once a stroke occurs, you need to leave it up to the medical professionals to assist. That is why you cannot hesitate to contact 9-1-1. Although you can do very little once a stroke occurs, you can take many proactive measures against strokes. DO NOT wait until something like this happens, in order to focus on your health.

Preventative Measures

It has been found that up to 80% of strokes and heart-related diseases are preventable. Although strokes and heart attacks are a frightening reality, there is hope. It is never too late to start impacting your health in a positive manner. This can result in a decreased risk of stroke overall.

Some of the most common risk factors, are within your control. Smoking for instance is a bad habit in which affects many aspects of your health. If you are a smoker, it’s important to know that you automatically increase your risk of suffering from a stroke. This is a risk factor that is 100% within your control.

High cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure also increase your risk of stroke. For the most part, these ailments can be controlled and prevented when you follow a balanced, healthy lifestyle. That means eating more nutrient-rich foods, exercising, sleeping well, and managing stress levels.

Knowing the symptoms of a stroke could potentially save your life. Remember, the most important action during a stroke is IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE. Try to remember that strokes are time-sensitive in terms of their negative effects.

You can also begin to take proactive measures today. Quit smoking and drinking excessively, eat well, and exercise on a regular basis. Not only will lifestyle changes protect you against potential strokes; but these changes will also protect you from a wide range of other ailments and diseases.

photo credit: Coast Guard News via photopin cc

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