An hour before my father had a stroke, he was a perfectly healthy man having dinner with his family. Although he complained of tiredness and headaches, it hadn’t occurred to us that it could be a sign of stroke. We simply attributed it to the slight tension that had been going on in the family business over the past week.
An hour later, this otherwise healthy man suddenly fell on the floor and within minutes he was paralyzed on his right side. It took us less than ten minutes to drive to the hospital and we are thankful that he is still alive. His stroke was the result of a blood clot in the left side of his brain. This kind of stroke is known as ischemic stroke and often occurs after TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack). So, remember the headache and the slight tiredness?
The other type of stroke is hemorrhagic, which is caused due to bleeding inside the brain.
Please share this story to with your friends and family because anyone who is reading could potentially benefit from knowing these signs.
Neurologists claim that if a patient is brought within three hours of experiencing an attack, the effects of the stroke can be limited.
How can you assess a person showing signs of stroke?
According to the American Stroke Association, a stroke is one of the major causes of death and can lead to disability if not treated promptly. It is essential to check the patient FAST (an acronym provided by ASA):
Face Drooping: Ask the patient to smile; check to see if it is lopsided.
Arm Weakness: Ask the person to raise their arms and check if one is slightly below the other.
Speech Difficulty: Ask the person to say a simple sentence. If the words coming out are slurred and you are not able to understand, then it is suggestive of a stroke.
Time to Dial 911: These are the basic signs to watch for that may indicate a stroke; however, be aware that there are other major warning signs of strokes as well.
An article published on MedicineNet lists some additional signs of stroke.
#1. Experiencing paralysis and weakness of the body
The person experiencing the stroke will suddenly experience paralysis of the face, arm, leg or one side of the body and will be unable to move. They may also claim to be feeling weak on one or both sides of the body.
#2. Experiencing a “pins and needles” sensation:
While in some parts of the body, one will face numbness; in other parts, they will have tingling pins and needles sensation.
#3. The speech will become gibberish
They will have difficulty speaking and being understood. Due to stroke, their brain will not be able to process speech. They will be unable to speak.
#4. Severe headaches
They will complain of severe headaches without any specific cause.
#5. Vision will be impaired
At this point, they might also experience a blurring or loss of vision. Patients who suffer from stroke often make the mistake of relating the blurred vision to the headache (as we did in the case of my father).
#6. Extreme confusion
A person will be extremely confused about how to do simple things. They will not be able to take small steps in making decisions regarding directions (for example, whether to put the plates on the left side or right side)
#7. Lost sense of coordination
One of the major signs of stroke is to watch out for is a loss of balance and coordination.
#8. Experiencing memory loss
A person suffering from a stroke will not be able to recall simple things (I do not remember where I put my glasses a minute ago).
#9. Behavioral changes
You will notice significant changes in their behavior. A naturally calm person may suddenly become irritable for no reason.
#10. Stiff muscles
Their muscles may become hard and stiff; they will be unable to move.
#11. Difficulty swallowing (even soft food)
The person will have difficulty in swallowing food even if it is soft food. They may feel that the food is stuck in the throat or they might have to swallow a lot to clear their throat; hence, taking a long time to finish a simple meal.
#12. Involuntary eye movements
You will also observe that someone having a stroke has uncontrolled eye movement (side to side, up and down or even circular movements).
Women may experience additional signs of a stroke such as facial and chest pain with shortness of breath.
B.E.F.A.S.T. Quickly Identify Signs Of Stroke With This Infographic
Another important thing to keep in mind is the time frame at which the stroke has occurred. Try to take specific note of the time to prevent administration of any drug that may have an adverse effect on the patient. E.g., aspirin will make the bleeding in case of hemorrhagic stroke even worse.
However, since prevention is always better than cure, we can always take certain steps to keep strokes at bay:
1. Keep your cholesterol under control
2. Eat healthily
3. Stay away from stress
4. Stop smoking
5. Limit drinking
6. Get good sleep.
If you see any of these symptoms in your loved ones, be sure to call the paramedics.
Please keep in mind that some of these signs may persist even after a person has recovered from the stroke.
Share the information with your friends and family, you never know who could be benefitted.