Can you spot the signs of a stroke?
A stroke is caused by a blocked or burst blood vessel that brings oxygen to the brain, depriving oxygen and nutrients which causes the brain cells to die.
Thanks to the FAST campaign, people are a lot more aware of what to look out for when the possibility of a stroke strikes. It’s also important to remember that different parts of the brain control different parts of the body, meaning that the symptoms will be dependent on the part of the brain that is affected.
F- Face – the persons face may have dropped on one side, and they may not be able to smile. Also, their mouth or eye may have drooped.
A- Arms – due to weakness or numbness, the person may not be able to lift both arms up and keep them there.
S- Speech – the person may not be able to speak at all, even if they appear awake. The speech may also be slurred or muddled.
T- Time – you must dial 999 immediately if you notice any of these signs or symptoms.
Other symptoms or signs of a possible stroke include:
• Weakness of the face, arm or leg, usually on one side.
• Sudden dizziness or loss of balance
• Sudden and severe headache
• Sudden loss of vision or trouble seeing in one or both eyes
• Feeling easily confused or having trouble understanding things that would usually be completely understandable
If the symptoms quickly disappear in less than 24 hours could mean that your loved one has had a Transient Ischaemic Attack, or what is often referred to as a mini-stroke. The same level of urgency should be taken if your loved one experiences a mini-stroke, as medical intervention could reduce the risk of a further, more serious stroke.
Having a stroke can have long term effects on a person’s day-to-day living. Depending on the severity, the journey to full recovery could be a long one. Your loved one may need to undergo physiotherapy to help recover from muscle weakness, as well as coping with any other physical changes that may occur. Speech and language therapy may be used if the person has trouble speaking, reading or writing, and other therapies may also be on hand to help with any emotional changes that may have taken place.
There are lots of resources available if you want more information about spotting the signs of a stroke, such as Stoke Association or the NHS website.