Palm Beach Angels Healthy Aging & Home Care Blog

MAY IS STROKE AWARENESS MONTH

 

Know the FAST signs of stroke

Are you at risk? Stroke can strike at any age! Get smart, get screened and remember, the sooner someone gets treatment the better for their brain. Know the symptoms of stroke! The most important thing is as soon as you recognize the FAST signs of stroke to get yourself or a loved one to the hospital! CALL 911 - don't wait.

A recent poll suggests that 88% of us would react straightaway if we lost a bank card or credit card. In contrast, 34% of people polled would wait for 24 hours before seeking medical help if they had symptoms of a stroke such as problems speaking or a weakness in the face or arms. Only 33% knew that a stroke caused immediate brain damage!

Strokes are the fifth leading cause of death in the US and a major cause of severe, lifelong disability and even dementia. Learning the warning signs of a stroke is essential to minimizing the consequences of this potentially life-threatening event.

People over 55 are at a higher risk of stroke, and this risk increases as you get older. Men, African Americans, and people diagnosed with diabetes or heart disease are also at greater risk. Strokes happen when a blood vessel that brings oxygen to the brain is either blocked (ischemic attack) or bursts open (hemorrhagic stroke). Lack of oxygen kills the brain cells that this particular blood vessel serves, and the part of the body that these brain cells control stops working.

Getting treatment fast should be your first priority when dealing with a stroke. Every second matters because each moment without oxygen damages your brain. The F.A.S.T. list in the graphic contains the most common signs of stroke, but there are a few more you should know.

  • Numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, located on one side of the body.
  • Confusion or trouble understanding things you usually have no problems managing, it could be a sign of stroke.
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes. A sudden loss of vision is another sign of stroke.
  • Sudden dizziness, trouble walking, loss of balance or coordination. The keyword here is sudden: one moment you’re fine, the next you feel dizzy or have trouble keeping your balance.
  • Sudden and severe headache with no obvious cause.

If you notice any of the symptoms above, call 911 immediately. The faster you get medical help, the better your chances are of avoiding major disability or even death.

Some simple lifestyle changes may help prevent a stroke happening.

  • STOP SMOKING NOW. Smoking doubles your risk of stroke.
  • Drink sensibly. Too much alcohol raises your blood pressure, which increases your risk of stroke
  • Eat sensibly. Saturated fat clogs up your arteries, putting you at greater risk of stroke.
  • Keep salt to a minimum as it raises blood pressure.
  • Watch your weight. Being overweight increases your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes, which increase your risk of stroke
  • See your doctor for a regular check-up and have your blood pressure checked often.

 

Till next time!

Irv Seldin, JD

Owner and CEO of Visiting Angels of the Palm Beaches

This article is not intended as medical advice.

Each Visiting Angels agency is a franchise that is independently owned and operated. The Franchisor, Living Assistance Services Inc., does not control or manage the day to day business operations of any Visiting Angels franchised agency.