A stroke isn’t something that happens only to the aging among us. You might have heard the stories of younger people having a stroke. You may know someone close to you, who by all appearances seemed in good health, and still suffered a stroke. According to the American Stroke Association, a stroke is the fifth cause of death in the United States, and leaves many others disabled. So how would see a stroke coming? But before we look at the warning signs, what is a stroke? “A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts (or ruptures). When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so it and brain cells die,” the American Stroke Association informs us.
Noticing the early signs of a stroke and getting medical help right away is key. This may be life saving and reduce the effects. If you or someone around you has a change in speech or appears suddenly confused, this may be a sign of a stroke. Immediate action is important. The Mayo Clinic reminds us: “Can the person repeat a simple sentence? Is speech slurred or hard to understand?”
“Many strokes are not associated with headache, but a sudden and severe headache can sometimes occur with some types of stroke” per the Mayo Clinic. Therefore, it’s good not to disregard these headaches, and seek medical attention. “A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted, depriving the brain of oxygen. It’s important to recognize the warning signs of stroke, because prompt treatment can minimize brain damage. Every moment is crucial,” the Mayo Clinic underlines.
Does one side of the face start to droop? A numbness in the face can be a tell-tale sign of a stroke. The Barnes Jewish Hospital points out “Stroke victims show different symptoms depending on the type of stroke (ischemic stroke, hemorrhagic stroke), where exactly the stroke occurs in their brain, and how acute the bleeding is. Stroke symptoms happen suddenly and simultaneously, but not all symptoms may occur.” Looking at someone who’s having a stroke, you may notice a half-smile; there’s an unevenness which illustrates the numbness in the face.
“Sudden dimness or loss of vision, particularly in one eye,” can be another symptom of a stroke, per the Barnes Jewish Hospital. “The majority of visual processing occurs in the occipital lobe, in the back of the brain. Most strokes affect one side of the brain. If the right occipital lobe is injured, the left field of vision in each eye may be affected. A stroke that affects the left occipital lobe may disturb the right field of vision in each eye,” Virtua Health states.
Can both arms be raised? Is one arm lower than the other when raising them? One sign of a stroke is a weakness on one side of the body, in the arm or the leg. There may be trouble with walking. The Mayo Clinic explains what happens when you seek medical help: “Once you get to the hospital, your emergency team will review your symptoms and complete a physical exam. They will use several tests to help them figure out what type of stroke you’re having and determine the best treatment for the stroke. This could include a CT scan or MRI scan, which are pictures of the brain and arteries, a carotid ultrasound, which is a soundwave test of the carotid arteries which provide blood flow to the front parts of the brain, and blood tests.” The sooner you seek medical attention the better the chances are for a more positive outcome. As the Mayo Clinic likes to remind everyone: “So if you or someone you know is experiencing a stroke, you should call 911 and seek emergency medical care right away.”