Act FAST If You Suspect a Loved One is Having a Stroke

Posted at Sep 06, 2013 | 85 Comments

Act FAST If You Suspect a Loved One is Having a Stroke

As one of northern Michigan’s largest providers of senior care, we know how important it is to get help quickly when someone is experiencing a stroke. Clot buster medications must be administered within 4-1/2 hours of the first symptoms of a stroke to be effective. That is why is it so important to recognize the early warning signs that can suggest someone is having a stroke. In some instances, the person experiencing the symptoms may not be aware of what is going on.

The National Stroke Association uses the acronym FAST to help caregivers remember the warning signs of a stroke.

F=FACE – Does one side of their face droop? Ask them to smile so you can determine for sure.

A=ARMS – Have them raise both arms. Does one arm drift down when they do?

S=SPEECH – Does their speech sound slurred or strange? Ask them to repeat a simple sentence.

T=TIME – If you observe any of these warning signs, call 911 immediately. Then carefully note the time. The clot busting drug tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) may help improve their  chance of survival but it has strict timelines on how long after the first signs of stroke before it can be administered.

There are several additional early warning signs of a stroke:

  • Difficulty with vision in one or both eyes
  • Sudden numbness or weakness in limbs on one side of the body
  • Trouble walking or with coordination
  • Sudden and severe headache

For women, there are several other unique symptoms to be aware of if you are a caregiver:

  • Sudden onset of hiccups
  • Sudden general and overall feeling of weakness
  • Sudden nausea
  • Sudden heart palpitations, chest pain, or shortness of breath

The statistics on the need for prompt medical attention are startling: for every minute a stroke goes untreated two million brain cells die. Yet people often “wait to see” what happens and if symptoms will resolve on their own. If you or someone you help care for exhibit any of these symptoms, don’t try to drive to an emergency room. Instead, call 911 immediately. Every minute counts.

Has someone you love suffered a stroke?

Did you recognize the early warning signs?

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