What is Stroke?
A stroke is a medical emergency, and prompt treatment is crucial. Early action can reduce brain damage and other complications. Blood supply to part of your brain is interrupted or reduced, preventing brain tissue from getting oxygen and nutrients. Brain cells begin to die in minutes.
If you or someone you’re with may be having a stroke, pay particular attention to the time the symptoms began. Some treatment options are most effective when given soon after a stroke begins.
Signs and symptoms of stroke include:
- Trouble speaking and understanding what others are saying.You may experience confusion, slur your words or have difficulty understanding speech.
- Paralysis or numbness of the face, arm or leg.You may develop sudden numbness, weakness or paralysis in your face, arm or leg. This often affects just one side of your body. Try to raise both your arms over your head at the same time. If one arm begins to fall, you may be having a stroke. Also, one side of your mouth may droop when you try to smile.
- Problems seeing in one or both eyes.You may suddenly have blurred or blackened vision in one or both eyes, or you may see double.
- A sudden, severe headache, which may be accompanied by vomiting, dizziness or altered consciousness, may indicate that you’re having a stroke.
- Trouble walking.You may stumble or lose your balance. You may also have sudden dizziness or a loss of coordination.
When to see a doctor
Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any signs or symptoms of a stroke, even if they seem to come and go or they disappear completely. Think “FAST” and do the following:
- Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
- Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward? Or is one arm unable to rise?
- Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is his or her speech slurred or strange?
- If you observe any of these signs, call 911 or emergency medical help immediately.