Save a Life – Know Your Stroke Symptoms
Understanding the symptoms of a stroke could save your life or someone else’s. Stroke symptoms can appear subtle, but what is happening inside the brain is potentially life-threatening. Approximately 800,00 Americans suffer from strokes each year. The CDC states that stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and a major cause of long-term disability.
What is a Stroke?
A stroke is when a blood vessel bursts inside the brain. This is significant because these blood vessels carry oxygen and nutrients to the brain. When blood isn’t able to flow to the brain, it does not get the oxygen it needs and cell death occurs within minutes.
It is important to understand the symptoms of a stroke are universal. However, there are four different types of stroke a person can have.
- Ischemic Stroke – This is the most common type of stroke and occurs when a blood clot blocks the flow of blood through the vessel shutting off access to the brain.
- Hemorrhagic Stroke – This is when an artery begins bleeding inside the brain. Most often, this occurs due to a weakened blood vessel that bursts and starts leaking into the brain cavity. Pressure builds, and the damage to the brain occurs as a result of the leaked blood. The damage results in the brain not being able to function properly. High blood pressure and trauma most often cause this type of stroke.
- Transient Ischemic Stroke – These are sometimes called mini-strokes. They typically only last a few minutes due to a temporary blockage of blood flow to the brain.
- Cryptogenic Stroke – This type of stroke is defined as cerebral ischemia of an unknown cause. It is estimated that about 1/3 of all strokes are cryptogenic.
When to CALL 911 and Get to the Nearest Emergency Room
We see many people arrive in our emergency room that appear to be suffering from a stroke. In many instances, there is a common denominator – most did not know they were having one. As stated above, the signs, in some cases, can be subtle. In others, the symptoms can be very dramatic. Knowing the symptoms and getting emergency help quickly is the key to saving a life. The window of opportunity to help offset the severity of a major stroke is narrow.
Because of this, the American Stroke Association recommends that everyone learn the acronym
F.A.S.T. to spot the signs of a stroke as quickly as possible.
F – FACE DROOPING
A – ARM WEAKNESS
S – SPEECH
T – TIME TO CALL 911
Additional Signs You Could Be Having a Stroke – CALL 911
- Sudden Confusion and Inability to Comprehend
- Difficulty Forming Words and Sentences
- Trouble Walking
- Sudden Headache that is Debilitating and Severe
- Coordination Problems or Trouble Balancing
- Blurred Vision
These signs may seem like they could be symptoms of another medical condition. While this could be true, these are signs that the brain is under duress. Initiating the E.M.S (911) and getting to the emergency room is the best next action after becoming aware of the symptoms. Once in the emergency room, medical professionals can assess the actual cause and start an appropriate treatment protocol.
What to Do While Waiting for Emergency Service Providers to Arrive if You Suspect a Stroke
Don’t decline medical interventions because you feel better.
Even if symptoms subside, it may be tempting to decline medical services. It is best to allow a medical professional to check you. There could still be internal bleeding or other signs that you can’t see.
Allow the ambulance to transport you or your loved one.
You might be thinking it is easier to drive straight to your nearest hospital. Emergency medical services prepare for these types of situations. In the event of a stroke, they will be able to administer life-saving care on the way to the hospital. This is the safest possible action.
Don’t consume any liquids or food.
It is common for stroke victims to have problems swallowing. The safest action is to wait until cleared by a medical professional.
What to Expect Once in the Emergency Room
A medical emergency is a scary time. There is a lot of rushing, panic, and confusion. We at iCare understand and take pride in our commitment to excellence. Our goals are to deliver the highest standard of care in emergency room services. The iCare team of board-certified doctors and nurses will be working very fast. They may not be able to explain every aspect of our life-saving measures in real-time. One of our team members will get you up to speed as soon as possible.
Things You Can Do to Lessen Your Risk of a Stroke
The causes of a stroke are multi-faceted, but there is a direct link to lifestyle choices and behaviors. Two of the main contributors, hypertension (high blood pressure) and high cholesterol. Both are treatable with diet modifications and prescription medications. Understanding the risk factors might help prevent you or someone you love from a tragedy. Stroke education is the best avenue for not only prevention but also for saving a life.
In Case of a Stroke-Related Emergency – Your Nearby Emergency Room Provider May Need the Following Information
You should know iCare shares in the rich history of our local Texas communities. We have three emergency room locations situated in Fort Worth, TX, Frisco, TX, and Argyle, TX. We care about our patients and their families. In the midst of an emergency, it is hard to remember important information. One of the things we know for sure is being prepared helps.
Some of the things you can do to prepare for unplanned emergencies are:
- Have relevant information available in a go-bag for yourself and those you live with. Such information might be any allergies, medications, recent hospitalizations, or surgeries.
- Make sure you have ID handy in an accessible location.
- Write down your primary physician’s phone number and any family members to contact in the case of an emergency.
- Keep our information handy, if iCare is your preferred or nearest emergency room location.
- Contact your family care provider and ask what else you can do to prepare more effectively.
iCare has three emergency room locations -Fort Worth, TX Frisco, TX, and Argyle, TX. If we are your nearest emergency room provider and you or someone you know is exhibiting any of the stroke symptoms listed above, do not hesitate and CALL 911 immediately.
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