If you notice any of these symptoms, you should immediately consult a doctor, expert warns

Michael George

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According to WHO, a stroke is in third place on the list of the deadliest diseases and disorders. Unfortunately, most strokes aren't even noticed until it's too late.

Imagine what would happen if your loved one had a stroke. Would you know what to do if they suddenly lost their sense of speech? Stroke can be immediate and unfortunately fatal, but it can also be successfully treated if you get help right away. I want to show you how to recognize a stroke and how to prevent it from taking a life.

Symptoms of an ischemic stroke

  • Sudden numbness or weakness on the face, in the leg, or arm - especially on one side of the body
  • Confusion, the inability to speak or understand
  • Problems with one or both eyes
  • Difficulties walking, dizziness, loss of coordination
  • A severe headache that appears suddenly without reason

There may be no difference in symptoms between the 2 types of strokes, but either way, the wrong approach in treatment can kill the patient. That's why it's very important to call a doctor immediately to be diagnosed correctly.

Other symptoms that require you to visit a doctor

  • A headache that leads to vomiting or the loss of a sense of direction
  • The tenseness of muscles in the back of the head
  • Vomiting
  • Darkening of the eyes
  • Looking at one spot for a long time for no reason

These signs may indicate a stroke or other health problems.

What happens during a stroke?

The most common reason for an ischemic stroke is a clot or a spasm that blocks the blood flow in a certain part of the brain. The tissue around the clotted vessel swells and the space in the skull is limited. The intracranial pressure increases and a headache appears.

The entire brain suffers from high pressure. During the stroke, one's arms and legs can stop moving, a person might lose their coordination or the ability to hear or speak. In some cases, even hallucinations are possible.

After some time, the blood flows into the neighboring arteries and veins, and the swelling disappears along with the headache. However, the nervous system takes a lot of time to recover. Some of its functions might disappear completely.

In cases of a very mild stroke, the memories of yesterday or the events that happened 10 years ago disappear. In more serious situations, the person becomes disabled.

But if the stroke is recognized on time, there is a good chance that damage could be prevented.

What you should do if you suspect someone is having an ischemic stroke

  • Ask the person to smile. Check if one side of the face looks strange.
  • Ask the person to raise both arms. Check if one of the arms is on the same level as the other.
  • Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence or poem. Check if the person pronounces the words clearly and correctly.

The 4 ways to recognize symptoms of a stroke are:

F - Face drooping

Ask your loved one to smile. If their smile is lopsided or does not look right, call for help. When stroke causes damage to the part of the brain that controls the muscles in the face, it can cause facial paralysis, or drooping on one side.

A-Arm weakness

Have the person raise both arms. If one drifts down, it may be a sign of stroke. They may have weakness on one whole side of their body following stroke, but it’s most common to have arm weakness.

S - Speech difficulty

Can your loved one repeat their name or repeat a sentence? If they slur, cannot speak or you cannot understand them, get help.

T - Time to call 911

If any or all of these symptoms happen, go to your nearest emergency room or dial 911.

If you notice any of these symptoms, you should get the person to a hospital immediately. The only way to reduce the negative consequences of a stroke is to help the person within the first hour.

Even doctors sometimes can't identify the reason for a stroke right away. If you notice any of these symptoms in your relatives or even a total stranger, call an ambulance and before they arrive, do as the dispatcher says.

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Michael George has her BSc (Hons.) Degree in Neuroscience, and is the owner and founder at Promellu.

Washington, DC

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