Strokes, Spot the Signs and Act
It is important for everyone to recognize the signs of a stroke and to act quickly. The loss of blood flow to the brain only gives the victim minutes to react. Lifesaving treatment can reduce damage to the brain and reduce recovery time.
Symptoms may occur suddenly. Recognizing them and getting help fast might save the life of a loved one or at minimum reduce the risk of long term disability. Here are the things to look for.
F Face. Check the persons ability to smile. Is it uneven? Does one side droop? Is there numbness?
A Arms. Can they raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward? Is there weakness or numbness?
S Speech. Does the person have slurred or strange speech? Can they complete a sentence?
T Time. If any of these sign exist, call 911. Make sure you notice the time the symptoms began.
There are additional symptoms that can occur, confusion, numbness, trouble seeing in one or both eyes, dizziness, loss of balance, difficulty walking, coordination issues and severe headache.
Risk factors for strokes cannot be altered, the chance of having a stroke can be reduced. Watch your diet. Make sure it is low in saturated fat, trans fat, added sugar and salt. Use healthy foods like fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans and fish as your staples.
Exercise more. Most healthy adults should have 2.5 hours of aerobic exercise per week. Strength exercise should be added to your regiment.
Strokes affect everyone differently. In each case the survivors recovery time and needs are unique. In most cases survivors will need some help to regain lost skills or adapt to changes in how they live. It probably will be necessary to work with a team of doctors, nurses, therapists and other care givers post the stroke event.
Recovery starts quickly after a stroke. Problems with ambulation, speech and thinking often improve in the first weeks or months. Improvement in some cases can continue over years. Your recovery team will discuss this with you and answer any questions or concerns. Don’t be afraid to ask.