Did you know that half of all stroke victims don’t realize when they’re having a stroke?
Since they assume that the symptoms they’re experiencing will go away on their own, they typically wait three and a half hours before seeking medical treatment. This is dangerous because time is critical when treating stroke.
What makes it even trickier is that an overwhelming majority
of strokes are silent, which means they don’t have obvious
Silent strokes are dangerous and can cause brain damage that
leads to cognitive and memory problems.
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to know if you’ve had a silent
stroke without a brain scan or unless your doctor detects signs of
stroke-related brain damage.
Regarding strokes that do have noticeable symptoms, the good news is it’s pretty easy to tell when you’re having a stroke.
Know the Risk Factors
People with certain medical conditions, such as high blood
pressure, diabetes and heart disease, are at a higher risk of stroke.
Other risk factors include family history, smoking, being
overweight, lack of physical activity and use of certain painkillers such as
Finally, one’s risk of having a stroke increases as they age.
If you have one or more of the above risk factors, you can
control them by following a heart-healthy lifestyle. This simply means being
physically active, not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, eating healthy,
and managing stress.
Know the Symptoms
There are generally two types of strokes: those that occur
when a clot cuts off blood supply to the brain, and those caused by bleeding in
Unfortunately, about two-thirds of the people who suffer from either of these two types of strokes don’t fully recover and are left with some type of disability.
To increase your chances of being in the one third that makes a full recovery, you must act FAST.
FAST is an easily remembered acronym to help you quickly
recognize stroke symptoms.
F for face
If you’re at high risk for stroke and start feeling weak suddenly, find the nearest person or mirror and smile. If your smile is uneven or one side of your face is twitching uncontrollably, or you have trouble seeing out of one eye, go to the ER immediately.
A for arms
Raise both arms. If you experience any weakness, numbness or
‘pins and needles’ on one side, you might be having a stroke.
S for speech
If your speech is slurred or incomprehensible, it could be a
T for time
Time is a very important factor in treating stroke. The time it takes you to get to the ER can literally be the difference between a full recovery and a lifetime of disability. Don’t drive yourself or wait for a friend or family member to take you. Call 911 to get the hospital as soon as possible and receive treatment en route.
Most stroke patients are unaware they had a stroke until after the fact. This leads to delays in seeking treatment, greatly reducing one’s chances of a full recovery.
To avoid this, remember the acronym FAST: face, arms, speech and time to recognize whether you or someone you’re near (it could even be a stranger), might be having a stroke.
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