ask the patient to raise armsStrokes happen fast, without warning, and the effects can be devastating. If you are with a loved one and they experience stroke symptoms it’s your responsibility to determine whether they’ve had a stroke and to get medical attention as soon as possible. It’s necessary to act FAST.

F Ask your loved one to smile. Does one side of their face droop?

A Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S Ask the person to repeat a single phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?

T If you notice any of these signs of stroke, don’t hesitate to dial 9-1-1 or press the button on their medical alert system immediately. Time is of the essence.

What is a stroke?

A stroke happens when a blood clot blocks an artery and interrupts the blood flow to the brain. When that flow of blood is interrupted, the starving brain cells begin to die and the person loses functions associated with those parts of the brain.

There are two types of stroke

Ischemic strokes are caused by blood clots or the development of fatty deposits and plaque within the veins. This type of stroke accounts for 87% of all strokes.

Hemorrhagic strokes are caused when a blood vessel breaks and begins to leak into the brain. These are the more serious of the two, accounting for 13% of all incidences, but responsible for over 30% of stroke deaths.

Symptoms of having a stroke (from the National Stroke Association)

  • SUDDEN numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg – especially on one side of the body.
  • SUDDEN confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
  • SUDDEN trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • SUDDEN trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
  • SUDDEN severe headache with no known cause.

What can the doctors do?

After the medical alert system has been activated and the ambulance takes you or your loved one to the hospital, the doctors have a number of treatment options available. The doctors can administer a clot-reduction medicine to shrink the clot. They can also assess where any damage in the brain occurred and offer long-term treatment plans to the stroke victim. Minimizing the effects of stroke is their highest priority. Fortunately, most strokes can be prevented if a proper home health care is in place and you have caring ones near you.

Stroke Prevention Measures

Strokes can be prevented through healthy living habits. Striving for health keeps people young and old from suffering the debilitating effects of stroke. What can you do right now to minimize the chances that you will have a stroke?

  • Put down the cigarette
  • Take a walk around the block
  • Eat some vegetables
  • Drink a glass of water
  • See your doctor regularly

Having a medical alert system available can help in case you or your loved one is having a stroke, but prevention is the main thing to keep in mind. More movement, better eating habits, and a sound primary care physician can keep you and your loved one healthy for years.