Recently it was announced that a 49yr-old woman self diagnosed herself after having a stroke, when doctors told her it was nothing more than just stress. Stacey Yepes video taped herself while she was out driving and felt the left side of her body go numb. After showing the video to the doctors, they finally agreed that she was in fact, having a stroke. With this going around, I think it’s best for everyone to know the signs of a stroke and what to do if you or someone you know is encountering a stroke.
Signs Of A Stroke:
- Face dropping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?
- Arm Weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- Speech Difficulty: Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, such as, “the sky is blue.”
- Time: This is where you call 911. Even if the person’s speech isn’t too slurred, it’s still important you get them to the hospital.
If the above is hard to remember, just think, “F.A.S.T.” This is an easier way to remember the signs of a stroke.
What To Do If Someone Is Having A Stroke:
Don’t wait to see if the symptoms will go away, if you suspect someone is having a stroke, call 911 or have someone else do it for you. Don’t take aspirin and don’t attempt to drive yourself to the hospital. If you are having a stroke while out, driving, pull over to safety, if you can. Don’t hesitate to make the call to 911, the sooner you make it, the sooner they can get to you and help you.
Strokes are preventable! The most important thing you can do is to get your blood pressure checked and treated if it is high. Have your blood pressure checked and monitored by a doctor. Even moderately high blood pressure over years can lead to a stroke. In people with certain irregular heart rhythms, such as atrial fibrillation, the use of blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin) has been shown to reduce the risk of stroke. Treat high cholesterol with diet and exercise and then medication to reduce the risk of stroke. High levels of blood cholesterol known as LDL (low-density lipoprotein) increase risk for stroke and may cause the formation of artery-narrowing plaque.
Many people recover completely after a stroke. For others, it can take many months to recover from a stroke. Physical therapy and other retraining methods are greatly improving rehabilitation and recovery. Despite clot-busting medications that help during an ischemic stroke, overall, about 30% of people die from stroke. In general, the more deficits or loss of ability (in walking or talking) individuals have when they arrive in the emergency department, the worse the outcome.
Don’t wait to act, if you suspect someone is having a stroke. Call 911 and monitor the person. You could very well save a life.