Stroke is one of the top five causes of death in America, but even if a stroke is not fatal, it can cause lifelong damage. Moreover, once a stroke begins, every second counts, so seek help as soon as possible. In order to take immediate action, you need to know what a stroke is, what you can do, and what symptoms you should pay attention to in order not to lose time. Fortunately, while stroke is a very serious and life-threatening condition, there are many warning signs for those in the know.
What is a stroke?
A stroke attacks the brain due to blood cell damage and clotting. There are two types of stroke:
Ischemia – occurs when a blood clot blocks the blood flow to the brain and cuts off the oxygen supply to the affected brain cells.
Hemorrhage – occurs when a blood vessel bursts, bleeding into brain tissue and damaging brain cells.
If a person with a stroke doesn’t get help in time, brain cells can be deprived of oxygen and become permanently damaged, which can damage the body functions controlled by those brain cells.
What is a pre-stroke?
Sometimes a small temporary clot clears up quickly, but the symptoms are similar because of the effects on the brain. This is called a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or “pre-stroke” and usually refers to a life-threatening attack in its path.
Victims of a transient ischemic attack should talk to a medical professional immediately about next steps, but are given anticoagulants (which work to dissolve clots) to reduce the risk of a major stroke, which can be fatal or permanently damaging.
Are there warning signs before a stroke?
In fact, there are, and these early warning signs are pre-stroke, or TIA. This is often a precursor to a major stroke, so if you think you are having a stroke or having a stroke, it is extremely important to seek immediate medical attention. They can happen 24 hours or even 7 days before a potentially fatal event, but you can never count on a long window! If you don’t take immediate action during or after a TIA, you’re more likely to suffer permanent (if not worse) damage when a major one strikes.
What are the five symptoms of a stroke?
The five main symptoms of a stroke are:
Numbness or weakness on one side of the body, this will help determine which side of the brain is having a stroke (one side of the brain controls the other side of the body, so if the damage is on the right side of the brain, the left side of your body will have the opposite symptoms).
Double vision in one or both eyes.
It’s hard to understand what’s going on around you.
Sudden dizziness or balance problems that make it difficult to walk.
Sudden, unexplained severe headache.
These are very serious symptoms, even if they only occur once or twice. If you notice these symptoms in yourself or someone around you, note the time the symptoms started and call 911 immediately.
The most common and easy-to-remember acronym to help people recognize and act on stroke symptoms is F.A.S.T.:
Droopy face – your face droops or has started drooping on one side
Hand weakness – this weakness actually applies to both sides of your face, arms and legs
Difficulty speaking – your words are jumbled or jumbled and you have trouble understanding others
Time to call 911! Call 911 if you have any of these symptoms
Although less common, other stroke symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. Depending on the above, additional symptoms such as difficulty walking (due to loss of balance) and confusion (difficulty understanding) may occur. It is important to record the approximate time of any symptoms and to record all associated symptoms of stroke. The emergency physician needs to have a detailed schedule to quickly assess the treatment plan.
What are the symptoms of a silent stroke?
A silent stroke does not show any symptoms or it is difficult for the patient not to remember it because of the injury. Because there are no signs or symptoms, it is difficult to prepare for this threat. Such strokes are often unrecognized: 1) the damage and sequelae alert loved ones to the stroke, or 2) the damage (if any) is minor but is detected by subsequent brain scans.
The most common symptom of a silent stroke is mild memory problems, but silent stroke victims often need additional help to help. The best way to prevent this