Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Could You Spot a Stroke? Warning Signs to Watch Out For

May is National Stroke Awareness Month, but many of those who care for seniors or older parents are not sure what a stroke really looks like. As a basic rule, if you think someone is having a stroke, it is crucial that you spot it FAST.
Face. Is it drooping?
Arm. Is there weakness?
Speech. Is speech difficult?
Time. If the answer is “yes” to any of the above, do not waste time. Respond quickly and call 911 immediately. 
One stroke will happen approximately every 40 seconds, and almost 800,000 Americans will have one. Because they are so prevalent, it is absolutely crucial for senior health that you and other loved ones know the warning signs. If these signs do occur, the brain is not likely getting the blood it needs. Damage could be temporary, but it could also be permanent. The most important thing in minimizing damage is to act quickly. The sooner a person receives medical treatment, the less chance they will have of experiencing permanent disability. 
Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in America. It is also the number one cause of long-term severe disability. That is why it is so important to seek medical care as soon as possible. The American Stroke Association conducted research that showed that patients who take clot-breaking drugs within three hours of their first symptom had a lower risk of long-term disability. This is especially true for those who suffered from an ischemic stroke, which is the most common variation and accounts for nearly 90 percent of cases. 
Warning Signs of a Stroke
Symptoms of a stroke may not be visible right away. In fact, they could slowly develop over time. If a loved one is having a stroke, these warning signs could occur either immediately or gradually:
-Weakness or numbness in the face, leg, or arm. This is more likely to happen all on the same side.
-Difficulty understanding other people or general confusion.
-Inability to speak clearly.
-Trouble seeing with one or both eyes.
-Difficulty staying balanced, walking, or maintaining coordination.
-Severe headache that may come out of nowhere. 
What to Do if Symptoms Occur
A stroke is a critical medical emergency. It is absolutely imperative that you act fast and take the situation seriously. If any of the above symptoms have occurred, take these steps right away:
-Never ignore symptoms. Even just one symptom could be a powerful warning sign that something is wrong.
-Call 911 immediately. Do not wait, as every minute counts. If one or more symptoms are present for more than a few minutes, your loved one should receive medical care as soon as possible. An ambulance can ensure they arrive at a hospital right away.
-Note the time and remember when the first symptoms appeared. This is very important information that you will want to share with the doctor who is providing care. 
How to Prepare for a Stroke
Not many people think a stroke will affect them or their family. But if someone you love does have a stroke, having taken the following steps in advance could make a big difference:
-Learn which medical facility or hospital is nearest to their home or work. A doctor or human resources director may be able to help you locate the closest facility. By knowing where to go at the first sign of stroke, you can act faster and get help for your loved one more quickly.
-Ask a Durham nurse or doctor which medical facilities have 24-hour emergency stroke care. These facilities will be the best equipped to deliver care for anyone who has had a stroke. 
Knowing what the symptoms look like, what to do if they occur, and preparing in advance can make all the difference for your loved one. If a stroke happens, remember to act FAST, and give them the absolute best chance of a happy, healthy outcome.

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