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Recognizing the signs of a stroke

A stroke can happen to anyone, and as a leading cause of death and disability, it is critical to know what to look for and what to do when a loved one suffers an attack. 

Facts about strokes

Studies show that more than 800,000 people across the United States have a stroke each year. Of these cases, over 87% are ischemic strokes whereby blood flow to the brain gets blocked. This causes brain cells to start dying rapidly, making it critical for you to know the signs of a stroke, as each second after an attack is too precious.

Who is at a higher risk of having a stroke?

While everyone can have a stroke, certain risk factors can make one more susceptible to these attacks. These risk factors include:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • High cholesterol levels 
  • High red blood cell count
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Drinking a lot of alcohol
  • Cardiac structural abnormalities
  • Older age as the chances of having a stroke almost doubles for those above 55 years

The signs of a stroke to watch out for

The classic signs of a stroke that you should never ignore are:

  • Pain or numbness in the face, arm, or legs
  • Feeling weak suddenly
  • Severe headache
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Confusion and difficulties in speech
  • Shortness of breath
  • Trouble opening both eyes
  • Loss of balance and coordination

On many occasions, the signs and symptoms of a stroke appear suddenly. Still, some people will experience mini-stroke symptoms such as headache, slight numbness, or tingling of the body several days before having a major stroke. 

The F.A.S.T test to check the signs of a stroke

If you think a loved one is having a stroke, it is critical to do the F.A.S.T test, which is the most efficient way to diagnose these attacks. This test is simple and can be done at any location as it involves checking the following:

  • F-Face. Ask your loved one to smile. If you notice they have a crooked or one-sided smile, they are likely to be suffering from a stroke.
  • A-Arms. Have your loved one raise both arms. If they have arm weakness or one whole side of their body, this is another sign of a stroke.
  • S–Speech. Ask your loved one to repeat their name or a simple phrase. Slurred speech and inability to speak or understand you confirm that the individual likely has a stroke attack. 
  • T–Time. If all these boxes tick when checking the condition of your loved one, note down the time the symptoms started and call 9-1-1 immediately.

Treat all signs of a stroke as an emergency

Time is of importance when a loved one has a stroke attack, and you need to act fast. Medical surveys show that patients who receive professional care within the first 3 hours have higher chances of survival and fewer disability risks. 

To keep your loved one safe, it is critical to:

  • Call 9-1-1 and explain to first responders the patient’s condition, including the time the symptoms started.
  • Avoid trying to rush the patient to a hospital on your own. Instead, ask for an ambulance to be quickly dispatched as you have an emergency.
  • Follow the instructions provided by the first responders.
  • Do not call off an ambulance or ignore the need to seek medical attention in case these symptoms disappear. Remember, a significant percentage of severe stroke cases often manifest as mild symptoms before the patient suffers an attack again.

Professional care for your loved ones

Your loved one requires the best care and attention after suffering a stroke attack. Once these emergencies have been handled, it is best to seek a post-treatment care plan, and you can count on the Arbors in Amarillo, Texas, for the rehabilitation of your loved one. You will appreciate the personalized level of care that the experienced staff at the Arbors offers in the calm and cozy home-like environment, so you never have to bear this burden alone. To learn more about these services, contact us today!