Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, affecting nearly 800,000 people each year. When blood flow to the brain is interrupted, a stroke can occur. If oxygen-rich blood doesn’t reach the brain, then brain cells will die and permanent brain damage can set in. Depending on the severity of the stroke and how long the blood flow is interrupted, a stroke can cause temporary or permanent disability or even death. However, if caught early enough, it is very possible to survive and recover from a stroke with rehabilitation such as occupational, speech, and physical therapy. Not sure if you or someone you love is showing symptoms of a stroke? Here are some symptoms of a stroke that you shouldn’t ignore.
Symptoms of a stroke
There are many signs that you could be having a stroke. Individually, some of these symptoms can mimic other illnesses. However, if you are at risk for a stroke, or if you have a combination of any of the following symptoms, it is best to err on the side of caution and seek urgent medical treatment. These symptoms include:
· Asymmetrical or drooping face and/or paralysis on one side of the body
· Slurred speech and/or sudden confusion, to include trouble thinking of words or understanding speech
· Sudden numbness or weakness in the limbs (especially on one side of the body)
· Blurry or double vision or loss of vision
· Sudden loss of balance or dizziness
· Dizziness and vomiting often accompanied by sudden blinding headache
When you think you may be having a stroke, or if you notice the following in others, the keyword is remember FAST, and it is an easy, simple rule to apply when you have precious seconds between life and paralysis or death. If you suspect someone is having a stroke, remember the acronym FAST (Face, Arms, Speech Time) then apply the FAST test.
- Face: If one side of the face starts to droop, ask them to smile and then look for signs of drooping on one side of the face.
- Arms: If one or both arms start to feel numb, ask them to raise their arms and then look for a downward drift in one arm.
- Speech: If speech is slurred or there is trouble conversing or remembering a word, ask them to repeat a phrase or to provide their name and address and notice if they slur their speech.
- Time: As in none to waste. Immediately call emergency services if you or someone you know shows signs of a stroke
Stroke symptoms can develop slowly, sometimes over a matter of hours or days. If you have a mini-stroke, symptoms are usually temporary and often improve within several hours. Because of this, people often blame their symptoms on other causes like stress or a migraine.
If you get to the hospital within three hours of the first symptoms of a stroke, the doctor can administer medication to dissolve blood clots and restore blood flow to your brain. Immediate action vastly improves the odds of a full recovery following a stroke and reduces the likelihood and severity of disabilities resulting from a stroke.
The sooner you recognize the signs of a stroke and seek medical attention, the better your chances of recovering and avoiding disability. Early detection and action can reduce the amount of time the blood flow to your brain is disrupted.
At Front Range Spine and Neurosurgery in Colorado, your care and well-being is always our main focus. Our doctors and staff pride ourselves on providing exceptional care for all of our patients, and are dedicated to making a difference in your life and in the world. Call (303) 790-1800 or use our online form to request an appointment today.