National Stroke Organization estimated that annually, more than 800000 people experience a stroke and every 4 minutes someone dies from a stroke. Stroke is the 5th leading cause of death in the U.S. and the leading cause of disability in adults. Scientists highlight that about 80% of strokes are preventable.
Stroke is sudden death of brain cells and it occurs when the blood supply to a part of the brain is disrupted and the cells are unable to receive oxygen. Doctors explain that without an immediate restoration of blood supply, the brain cells become permanently damaged and the patient has significant physical or mental disability.
When a stroke occurs, prompt medical intervention is crucial and that is the reason why all of you should know and recognize the symptoms and risk factors.
Warning signs of stroke
- Sudden numbness or weakness in the arms face or legs
You should never ignore sudden numbness or feeling of weakness in the arms, legs or face. If some person complains that he/she has these symptoms you should perform a quick test: stretch the person’s arms (palms up) for 10 seconds. If his/her arm goes down you should call for an ambulance as that can be a sign of stroke.
- Look for weak muscles or facial limbs
When a stroke occurs, the person may suddenly lose balance while standing or be unable to hold objects. In such situation you should look for signs one the person’s body or face. If one side of the person’s mouth falls into a smile or if he/she is unable to hold both arms above his or her head, it is indication that stroke occurs.
- Look for confusion or trouble speaking or understanding speech
As a result of stroke, when certain areas of the brain are affected, the person may have difficulties with speaking or understanding what is being said. When a stroke occurs, the person may seem confused by what you are saying, but he/ she also may slur the words or speak in confused noises that do not look like usual speech.
You should immediately call the local emergency number in order to get emergency medical treatment.
- Ask if the person has vision problems in one or both eyes
During a stroke, the vision of the patient may be affected – suddenly. People who survived a stroke explain that they lost the sight in one or both eyes or saw double. Due to the fact that the patient cannot see or he/she is seeing double, you should ask the person to nod with yes or no.
Symptoms of a stroke
- Watch for the loss of coordination or balance
As a result of stroke, the patient loses strength in his/her arms or legs and he/she has difficulties with balance and coordination. If you notice that the person cannot pick up a pen or can not coordinate the ride, you should be aware that stroke occurs.
- Sudden and severe headache
At some patients the stroke causes a sudden headache. Patients who had a stroke explain that it was the worst headache they ever experienced. As a result of increased pressure in the brain, the headache may be associated with nausea and vomiting.
One of the most common symptoms of a stroke is dizziness. Very often people misinterpret this warning sign as dizziness usually appears as a result of intoxication.
- Shortness of breath
When a stroke is occurring, the patient also may experience shortness of breath and difficulties with breathing and these symptoms appear as a result of a reduced blood flow that affects the part of the brain responsible for the respiratory function.