Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke. In 2008 alone, more than 133,000 Americans died from stroke—or one person every four minutes—died from stroke, making it the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. CDC.gov
In 1989 President George H. Bush signed National the Presidential Proclamation 5975 designating May as Stroke Awareness Month. One of the objectives is increase public awareness about the warning signs of stroke and how to recognize them. During a stroke, every minute counts! Quick action can greatly reduce the brain damage that a stroke can cause.
First of all, you must know the signs of someone suffering a stroke. By knowing the symptoms of stroke, you can be prepared to take the necessary action to perhaps save a life—maybe even your own. Here are some of the common signs of stroke in both men and women from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website. If you or someone you observe displays any of the following symptoms call 911 immediately.
Signs of Stroke
- Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding speech.
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or lack of coordination.
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
Acting quickly is the key to getting stroke victims the treatment that can lessen the impact of a stroke or even save their life. The most effective stroke treatments are only available if the stroke is recognized and diagnosed within 3 hours of the first symptoms. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has come with the acronym F.A.S.T. for remembering the simple test when you think someone may be having a stroke.
F—Face. Ask the person to smile. Look to see if one side of the face droops. A—Arms. Ask the person to raise both arms. Watch for one arm drifting downward. S—Speech. Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase and listen for slurred or strange speech. T—Time. If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.
A person having a stroke may display any or all of these common symptoms. Don’t delay! Because some treatments for stroke only work if given in the first 3 hours after symptoms appear, you should always note the time when they first appear. Whether it’s you or someone else with these symptoms, do not drive to the hospital or let someone else drive you. Call an ambulance. That way the trained medical personnel can begin life-saving treatment on the way to the emergency room.
Treating a Transient Ischemic Attack
Sometimes the symptoms go away after a just a few minutes. If that’s the case, you may be witnessing (or experiencing) a transient ischemic attack (TIA). Although brief, a TIA is a sign of a serious condition that will not go away without medical help. See a health care professional right away and tell them about your symptoms. Unfortunately, because TIAs are short-lived, many people ignore them. Don’t be one of those people. Paying attention to a TIA can save your life.
Here is a helpful video from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
The folks at Freedom Insurance Agency care about you and your family. Knowing the signs of a stroke may save a loved one’s life, even your own!