Stroke: – Do you know what to do?
We must understand the seriousness of a Stroke. It is a serious life-threatening medical condition that happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. If you suspect that you or someone else is having a stroke, phone 999 or 112 immediately and ask for an ambulance.
The F.A.S.T test is an excellent way to remember and quickly diagnose your suspicion that someone is having a stroke.
- Face – the face may have dropped on 1 side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have dropped.
- Arms – the person with suspected stroke may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of weakness or numbness in 1 arm.
- Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake; they may also have problems understanding what you’re saying to them.
- Time – it’s time to dial 999 immediately if you see any of these signs or symptoms.
As important as it is to recognise these signs there are some other clues which may prompt you to be more aware. People who are in higher risk groups such as the elderly, diabetics, and those who suffer from high blood pressure are susceptible to having a stroke.
There are more signs and symptoms we should be aware of.
- complete paralysis of 1 side of the body
- sudden loss or blurring of vision
- difficulty understanding what others are saying
- problems with balance and co-ordination
- difficulty swallowing
- a sudden and very severe headache resulting in a blinding pain unlike anything experienced before
- loss of consciousness
There may be other causes of these symptoms but thinking about a stroke should come to mind.
A Transient ischaemic attack often referred to as a (TIA) is also know as a mini-stroke. The symptoms are the same as a stroke, but tend to only last between a few minutes and a few hours before disappearing completely.
Despite the fact that the symptoms can improve a TIA is still serious. In fact it is kind of like an early warning sign of things to come because its a sign that there is a problem with the blood supply to your brain. If left unaddressed the person will be at an increased risk of having a full blown stroke in the near future.
If a TIA is suspected, you can offer a 500mg aspirin to take straightaway, this helps to prevent a stroke. The aspirin will act a temporary blood thinner.
So what do we do?
We would also like to really emphasise how time is of the essence. The quicker we can get someone to hospital for the professional help they need the more of the person we can save.