When a stroke occurs, immediate medical care is essential. Every minute counts; getting treatment as quickly as possible could be the difference between life and death.
Know the signs and symptoms of stroke.
- Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg; numbness is often localized to just one side of the body.
- A sudden sense of confusion is common in stroke victims. The victim may have difficulty speaking or understanding what is being said.
- Sudden difficulty seeing (with one or both eyes).
- Sudden severe headache with no clear cause.
- Sudden trouble walking, which may include dizziness, loss of balance, or lack of coordination.
If you suspect someone is having a stroke, it is critical to act fast. There is a three-hour window following the first symptoms during which stroke victims may be eligible for the most effective treatments. After that three-hour window, the patient may not be eligible for those first-line therapies.
Act F.A.S.T. if you think someone is having a stroke:
- F–Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
- A–Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- S–Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
- T–Time: If you notice any of these three signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.
In the event of a stroke, call an ambulance so that first responders can begin potentially lifesaving treatment on the way to Glenwood Regional Medical Center. Do not attempt to drive yourself or a stroke victim to the hospital.
Are You at Risk?
Some stroke risk factors can’t be changed. These include age, family history, race, sex, and medical history.
- Age: Risk for stroke doubles for each decade after age 55.
- Family History: You may be at increased risk if you have a parent, grandparent, or sibling who has had a stroke.
- Race: African-Americans are at a higher risk for death from stroke (compared to Caucasians), party due to higher risks of diabetes, hypertension and obesity.
- Sex: Women have more strokes than men. Use of oral contraceptives and other hormonal therapies may increase a woman’s risk.
- Medical History: if you have had a heart attack, stroke or “warning stroke” before, then you are at an increased risk.
Other risk factors may be managed. These include:
- Atrial fibrillation
- Carotid artery disease (or other forms of plaque buildup in arterial walls)
- Cigarette smoking
- Diabetes mellitus (all types)
- Heart disease
- High blood cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Obesity and/or physical inactivity
- Peripheral artery disease (PAD)
- Poor diet
- Sickle cell anemia