There is some confusion about the signs of a stroke. In fact, many people experience them without realizing it – a dangerous situation since strokes can cause permanent damage to the brain. It’s important to know if you are at risk for a stroke and learn the symptoms as well as the proper course of action to take. If you believe you are experiencing a stroke, call 911 immediately.
Understand and Act FAST
The American Stroke Association uses the FAST acronym to remember the symptoms. FAST stands for Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, and Time to call 911. Strokes can cause weakness on one side of the body. You can test this by looking in the mirror and smiling. If the smile is lopsided, you could be having a stroke. The same can be done by lifting both arms, and finding one harder to lift than the other. Speech is the final symptom in the FAST acronym. If your speech becomes slurred or difficult to understand, call 911.
Identify Stroke Symptoms
Many symptoms of a stroke can be confused with a variety of other health disorders, such as:
- A headache
- Nausea and or vomiting
These could be signs of anything from a concussion to a mild cold. What separates a stroke is the numbness and source of symptoms. For example, numbness or blurred vision is typically resigned to one side of the body over the other. Additionally, if you experience common symptoms suddenly without a known cause, then it’s more likely to be a stroke. Experiencing a combination of these symptoms is enough to call 911.
When a Stroke Occurs
Call 911 immediately. Don’t wait until the last second to pick up the phone. Even if you can walk or stand comfortably, it’s important to get treatment for a stroke as soon as possible.
The best things you can do to lower your risk for a stroke are to maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Stress, smoking, and weight play a factor as well. Treating these conditions and changing lifestyle behaviors can help to lower your risk.
If you’ve had a stroke, you are often at risk for another. This can lead to serious complications in the heart or brain. MSA can help lower your risk through Vessel repair and a variety of other treatments. Get in touch with a vascular expert to discuss your options.