Signs of a Stroke - PIH Health - Whittier, CA

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Healthy Living Online

Published on May 16, 2016

Signs of Stroke

Signs of a Stroke

Signs of StrokeIt’s important to act FAST when someone is having a stroke. Learn how to identify the most common symptoms of a stroke.

Time is of the essence when a stroke occurs. Recovery can be greatly impacted by how quickly medical treatment is received following this potentially life-altering event, and knowing what the symptoms of stroke look like can help you determine when someone needs help. Use an acronym created by the National Stroke Association to identify the warning signs of stroke.

How can you tell if someone may be having a stroke? Remember the word FAST!

F - Facial drooping: Ask the person to smile. Is one side of the face drooping or hard to move?

A - Arm weakness: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift down?

S - Speech difficulties: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Do you notice slurred speech or trouble forming words?

T - Time: Time lost is brain lost. If you notice any of the above symptoms, call 911 right away.

Other symptoms of stroke include double or blurred vision, a sudden severe headache with no known cause, sudden numbness on one side of the body, trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination, and arm or leg weakness. If something seems “off” with someone and you suspect it’s due to a stroke, it’s important to call 911 immediately.

The good news is that if a stroke is due to an obstruction within a vessel supplying blood to the brain (an ischemic stroke), and the person gets to the hospital quickly enough, the clot-busting drug tPA may improve chances of recovery. According to the National Stroke Association, 87 percent of all strokes are ischemic.

It’s a race against the clock to administer tPA in time to improve stroke outcomes. In studies, when tPA was received within 1½ hours of the start of symptoms, up to 20% of patients showed significant improvement 90 days later. If it was given within 3 hours, about 10% of patients showed improvement.

The sooner a person having a stroke gets to a hospital, the better the odds. The most important factor in the successful treatment of stroke is getting treatment as quickly as possible.

If you suspect a stroke, always call 911. Remember, it’s important to act FAST.

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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