When it comes to health issues, there are certain words that can trigger fear in most people. Cancer. Heart attack. Stroke. While there are things that are out of your control, it’s good to be aware of the basic symptoms of certain conditions. This will allow you to seek medical assistance before they become life-threatening.
One of the most common medical emergencies that can be recognized early is a stroke.
What is a Stroke?
A stroke (also known as a “brain attack”) occurs when the blood supply to the brain is blocked by a clot (ischemic stroke), or when a blood vessel ruptures and it bleeds into brain tissue (hemorrhagic stroke). When brain cells are deprived of oxygen, they die. When too many brain cells die, the abilities controlled by that portion of the brain are affected.
They account for 1 out of every 20 deaths in the United States, making it the 5th leading cause of death in the country.
Identifying Early Warning Signs of a Stroke (FAST)
The left side of the brain controls the right side of the body and vice versa. Therefore, if you’re experiencing issues only on one side of the body, the stroke is affecting the opposite side of the brain.
When the left side of the brain is affected, symptoms include:
- Paralysis on the right side of the body
- Slurred speech
- Memory loss
When the right side of the brain is affected, symptoms include:
- Paralysis on the left side of the body
- Impaired vision
- Memory loss
The severity of symptoms may vary depending on the part of the brain that’s affected. However, they have common denominators. The simplest way to recognize the signs of a stroke is to remember the FAST acronym:
F– Face starting to slide down or looking droopy
A– Arm weakness and inability to move it
S– Speech difficulty or slurring of words
T– Time to call 9-1-1
Additional Symptoms of a Stroke
- Loss of balance
- Double/ blurry vision
- Nausea or vomiting
- Severe headache
It is crucial to seek medical help immediately if you or someone you love is experiencing these symptoms. Failing to do so may result in further damage to the brain, major disabilities, or even death.