What is a stroke?Read more
A stroke is a brain attack which occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off. A stroke is also called a cerebrovascular accident, CVA, or a “brain attack.”
When this happens, brain cells are deprived of oxygen and they stop working. This loss of blood supply can be ischemic because of lack of blood flow, or hemorrhagic because of bleeding into brain tissue.
A stroke is a medical emergency because strokes can lead to death or permanent disability. How a person is affected by stroke depends on where the stroke occurs in the brain and how much the brain is damaged. For someone it may be a temporary weakness of an arm or leg and for someone permanent paralysis of one side of their body.
The types of strokes include:
Ischemic stroke (part of the brain loses blood flow) Hemorrhagic stroke (bleeding occurs within the brain)
Listed below are stroke symptoms to be watchful and proactive about:
Trouble with speaking and understanding. One may experience confusion, slurring of words or have difficulty in understanding speech. Paralysis or numbness of the face, arm or leg. Trouble with seeing in one or both eyes, blurred or blackened vision. Headache. A sudden, severe headache, which may be accompanied by vomiting, dizziness or altered consciousness. Trouble with walking accompanied by dizziness, loss of balance or loss of coordination.
Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any signs or symptoms of a stroke, even if they seem to fluctuate or disappear.
Think “FAST” and do the following:
Face. Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop? Arms. Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward? Or is one arm unable to raise up? Speech. Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is his or her speech slurred or strange? Time. If you observe any of these signs, call for the medical emergency services. Don’t wait to see if the symptoms go away. Every minute counts. The longer a stroke goes untreated, the greater the potential for brain damage and disability.