The phrase “time is of the essence” is certainly true when it comes to recognizing the signs someone is having a stroke. According to the American Stroke Association, strokes are the second-leading global cause of death.
Older adults are at highest risk for stroke. In addition to age, additional risk factors include high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, and being overweight. A family history of strokes can also play a role in determining who is at risk.
Every minute counts in getting an adult who is having a stroke to the hospital for treatment. In honor of World Stroke Day on October 29, we’re sharing an easy way you can learn about and remember the warning signs of a stroke.
Act FAST: Learn the Warning Signs of a Stroke
F-A-S-T is an acronym that will help you identify the most common signs that someone is having a stroke.
- F is for FACE: When someone is having a stroke, one side of the mouth may appear droopy or their smile might look lopsided. While this warning sign doesn’t always occur, it is an indicator of stroke when it does. If you suspect someone might be having a stroke, look at their face to see if there are any changes.
- A is for ARMS: After you look for changes in the person’s face, their arms are next. Have them try to raise both arms over their head. They may not be able to lift one arm if they are having a stroke. Even if they can lift both arms, watch to see if either one drifts downward. That’s a warning sign something isn’t right.
- S is for SPEECH: Because a stroke interrupts blood flow to the brain, speech problems are common. If your family member or friend is having difficulty speaking, slurring their speech, repeating the same words over and over, or exhibiting unusual speech patterns, it is a warning sign that should be taken very seriously.
- T is for TIME: If someone you are with is experiencing any of the warning signs of a stroke listed above, call 911 without delay. Tell the dispatcher you think someone nearby is having a stroke. Lifesaving medications must be administered quickly to be effective, and 911 is typically the fastest way to get help.
Here are a few additional signs of a stroke caregivers and family members should be aware of:
- Feeling numb or weak in the face, arm, or leg
- Loss of vision or blurred vision in one or both eyes
- Balance and coordination problems, such as dropping things or feeling unsteady walking
- Sudden onset of a painful headache, especially among people with no history of headaches or migraines
These symptoms should be taken seriously so that prompt treatment can occur. Don’t wait to see if they improve on their own.
Senior Health Issues and Topics
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Source: Sunrise Senior Living