Every year in America, over 795,000 people experience a stroke. Because this number is so high, it’s important to understand the signs of a stroke and know exactly what to do if one occurs. First and foremost, call 911 immediately for medical attention.
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Signs of a Stroke
Certain people show signs of a stroke while it is occurring. You can remember the signs of a stroke by recalling the acronym: FAST.
Face – When someone is having a stroke, they may experience facial paralysis. This usually occurs because of a brain tumor. If you notice a lack of muscle tension in someone’s face, ask them to smile. If their smile droops on one side, call 911 immediately.
Arm – It is common for a person to experience weakness in their muscles during and after a stroke. Sometimes, the muscles on an entire side of someone’s body (including the arm and leg) will be weak. This weakness can range in severity.
Speech – A person’s ability to form a coherent sentence may be affected if they are experiencing a stroke. If this is happening, call for medical help.
Time – Medical attention is needed immediately if a stroke is occurring. If you see someone experiencing even one of these symptoms, call 911. Medical professionals can perform necessary treatment until they arrive at the hospital, where trained nurses and doctors can take over.
Two Types of Strokes
Hemorrhagic strokes are not as common as ischemic strokes but it’s important to understand what causes them. When a blood vessel in the brain ruptures, a hemorrhagic stroke occurs.
Ischemic strokes occur most often – roughly 85% of the time. These strokes take place when a brain artery is blocked and oxygen cannot get to that part of the brain. Brain tissue will die without oxygen. So, if any of the above symptoms are occurring, you must seek treatment as quickly as possible.
There are treatments available for hemorrhagic and ischemic strokes. However, if you are experiencing a stroke or are witnessing someone having a stroke, call 911 immediately.