“Lost time is never found again.”
Stroke is a brain attack! A stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain is blocked or bursts, starving the brain tissue of its oxygenated blood supply, leading to brain damage. The part of the body controlled by the damaged area of the brain can’t work properly and symptoms of stroke manifest. Depending upon the amount of blood involved and location of the stroke area in the brain, a person having a stroke can show many signs and symptoms that can range from barely noticeable difficulties with moving or speaking to paralysis or death. Stroke is the 4th leading cause of death in the United States.
There are two main types of strokes:
Ischemic: This is where an artery inside or leading to the brain becomes completely blocked; usually caused by a blood clot that forms in a clogged artery. It can also be due to a blood clot traveling to the brain from the heart. Eighty-seven percent of all strokes are ischemic, and most of those are caused by atherosclerosis.
Hemorrhagic: These strokes are caused by bleeding into the brain. Abnormal blood vessels (such as aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations) are likely to rupture. The bleeding disrupts healthy blood flow to brain tissue. Hemorrhagic strokes are less common, making up about 13% of all strokes.
Whether the stroke is ischemic or hemorrhagic in nature, the symptoms are often the same, but ischemic strokes can be treated with thrombolytic agents administered intravenously to break up the clots (clot busters), or by a manual method of removal via special catheter in a process called thrombectomy. Thrombolytics work best when administered within one to two hours of the ONSET of SYMPTOMS, not onset of arrival to the hospital.
If you or someone with you manifests any of the signs of stroke, do not delay calling for emergency medical services and getting to the hospital immediately. Time is brain cells!
If the symptoms pass quickly, this may indicate a transient ischemic attack (TIA), a brief blockage of blood flow to the brain that is often a forerunner of stroke. Do not ignore this warning sign as early treatment can often help prevent a fatal or disabling stroke from occurring.
You can recognize the warning signs of a stroke by remembering a simple acronym: F.A.S.T.
F: Face. Do you notice any sagging or drooping, especially on one side?
A: Arms. Does one arm drift down when you ask the person to hold their arms out at shoulder height?
S: Speech. Is speech garbled?
T: Time. Note the time the symptoms started and call 9-1-1 immediately.
Again, time is of the essence ~Every minute during stroke, millions of brain cells die, increasing the risk of permanent brain damage, disability, and death.
Other stroke warning signs include:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
- Sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding.
- Sudden trouble seeing out of one or both eyes.
- Sudden dizziness, loss of balance or coordination, or trouble walking.
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause.