Having a stroke can be a scary and life-altering event that can affect people of all ages. Often times the effects of a stroke can be long lasting. Fortunately, knowing the signs and symptoms of a stroke can lead to quick interventions that can prevent lasting complications.
A stroke occurs when a part of the brain is unable to receive blood. This can be caused by a blood vessel that is either blocked or leaking blood. When this happens, the part of the brain that isn’t receiving blood loses control of the area that it once managed and the mind-body connection for that area is lost. This can affect a person’s physical and mental abilities, common effects include paralysis on one side of the body or memory loss.
To combat the lingering effects of a stroke, treatment is possible, but time is of the essence for treatments to work effectively. The American Stroke Association recommends using the acronym FAST to identify the signs and symptoms of a stroke. By utilizing the FAST protocol, you can look for potential signs and get timely treatment.
FAST Protocol - Stroke Signs & Symptoms
F - Face Drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven or lopsided?
A - Arm Weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S - Speech: Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase.
T - Time: If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.
(Reference: American Heart Association, 2019)
Currently, strokes are the fifth leading cause of death in the United States with a stroke occurring every 40 seconds, affecting over 800,000 people a year. Be prepared and learn to think FAST.
For more information about strokes, be sure to check out www.strokeassociation.org, and if you or a loved one needs assistance after a recent stroke, please contact your local ComForCare/At Your Side Home Care office to learn more about the support we can provide.