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YOUR GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING STROKE

Stroke is the leading cause of death the world over and it is always a medical emergency. When stroke occurs it is usually caused by a blood vessel bursting in the brain or due to a blockage. When the blood supply is cut-off the cells in the brain quickly begin to die and this results in serious diability or death. A stroke patient should get immediate professional medical help or should reach the nearest hospital.

What are the symptoms of stroke?

There are many symptoms that points to an imminent stroke. If a person has high blood pressure or doctor has warned about a possibility of stroke then extra care should be taken to look out for tell tale signs of stroke. The most common symptoms are listed below:

  • Sudden feeling of numbness on one side of the body
  • Feeling of weakness of the body especially on one side
  • A sudden and severe headache without any reason
  • Sudden vision problem in one or both eyes
  • Problem in swallowing
  • Sudden dizziness, loss of balance etc.
  • Feeling confused, difficulty in speaking and understanding

F.A.S.T Test for stroke

To make it easy to recognise the symptoms of a stroke the F.A.S.T test has been devised. Each letter stands for a body part which has to be checked to recognise a stroke and the letter T stands for time which is very critical in saving a stroke patient.

F for Face: Ask the person to smile. Check whether one side is drooping

A for Arms: Ask the person to lift the arms and check if one side drifts down.

S for Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple word and watch if the person has trouble speaking or has a slur

T for Time: Time is very crucial if you see any of the above signs then rush the patient to the nearest emergency care within four hours.

What are the risk factors?

The risk factors for a stroke includes high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity. Lack of exercise, smoking and drinking are the other behavioural causes.

What are the types of stroke?

There are three most recognised type of strokes which includes ischemic stroke, hemorrhagic stroke and mini stroke. The ischemic stroke happens when the blood vessels to the brain get blocked due to a blood clot. The hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a weakened blood vessel in the brain bursts and the mini stroke is the one that suddenly takes place and causes symptoms similar to an actual stroke, but when the blood flow is restored the symptoms just disappear within 24 hours.

Emergency treatments

When a person suffers a ischemic stroke then medicines are used to restore the blood flow to the brain. A clot busting drug is used within 3-4 hours of a stroke. The hemorrhagic stroke is much more difficult to control where blood pressure, bleeding and brain swelling has to be immediately controlled for saving the patient.

Time is brain

Every minute counts after the onset of stroke. You can lose 2 million brain cells in each minute until blood flows in restored to your brain. Hence knowing the signs of stroke and getting help quickly can save one’s life. If anybody near you shows positive F A S T test, bring him to hospital within few hours.

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