By Dr Ashraf Kashmiri
Recognizing a stroke is crucial for timely medical intervention, which can potentially save lives and reduce the risk of long-term disabilities. However, it is important to note that this article provides general information and should not replace professional medical advice. If you suspect someone may be experiencing a stroke, always call emergency services immediately.
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted, leading to the death of brain cells. It is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention, as it can result in severe brain damage or even be fatal. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a stroke is essential to initiate appropriate actions promptly. Here are some important points to consider:
1. Understand the common signs and symptoms:
Face Drooping: One side of the face may droop or feel numb. Ask the person to smile, and observe if one side of their face appears uneven or droopy.
Arm Weakness: Ask the person to raise both arms. If one arm drifts downward or if they have difficulty holding it up, it may indicate arm weakness.
Speech Difficulty: Listen to their speech. Slurred speech, difficulty speaking, or the inability to speak coherently can be signs of a stroke.
Time to Call Emergency Services: If you notice any of these symptoms, call emergency services immediately. Quick action is crucial in stroke cases to improve outcomes.
2. Learn additional signs and symptoms:
Sudden Severe Headache: A sudden, severe headache with no apparent cause, often described as the worst headache of one’s life, can be a sign of a stroke.
Dizziness and Loss of Balance or Coordination: Sudden dizziness, loss of balance, or difficulty walking or maintaining coordination may indicate a stroke.
Confusion and Disorientation: Sudden confusion, trouble understanding or speaking, and difficulty comprehending what others are saying can be signs of a stroke.
Trouble Seeing: Sudden difficulty seeing out of one or both eyes, blurred or double vision, or a sudden loss of vision may indicate a stroke.
3. Use the FAST acronym:
Remember the acronym FAST to help identify and respond to a possible stroke:
Face: Ask the person to smile. If one side of the face droops or feels numb, it may be a sign of a stroke.
Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. If one arm drifts downward or is weaker than the other, it may indicate arm weakness, which can be a sign of a stroke.
Speech: Listen to their speech. Slurred or garbled speech, difficulty speaking, or inability to speak coherently can be signs of a stroke.
Time: If you observe any of these signs, call emergency services immediately. Time is critical in stroke cases, and prompt medical attention can make a significant difference.
4. Observe the person’s behavior:
Sudden Weakness or Numbness: Note if the person suddenly experiences weakness or numbness in their face, arm, or leg, particularly on one side of the body.
Altered Mental State: Pay attention to any sudden confusion, trouble understanding, or difficulty grasping simple instructions or questions.
Loss of Coordination and Balance: Observe if the person has sudden difficulty walking, maintaining balance, or experiencing sudden falls.
Severe Headache and Neck Stiffness: Take note if the person experiences a sudden, severe headache along with neck stiffness or pain, which may indicate a hemorrhagic stroke.
5. Seek medical help immediately:
Even if the symptoms appear to improve or disappear, it is crucial to call emergency services or go to the nearest emergency room immediately. Do not delay seeking medical help or wait for the symptoms to worsen.
Inform the medical professionals about the suspected stroke symptoms and the time they started. Timely treatment can significantly improve a stroke patient’s chances of recovery.
Remember, while it is important to be vigilant and knowledgeable about stroke symptoms, this information is not meant to replace professional medical advice. It is always recommended to consult them.
- The author is a Fellow Researcher at Max Hospital, Vaishali and can be reached at [email protected]
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.