A stroke, also known as a cerebrovascular accident (CVA), occurs when there is a disruption in the blood supply to a part of the brain. This disruption can be caused by a blocked blood vessel (ischemic stroke) or a ruptured blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke).
When the brain doesn’t receive sufficient blood flow and oxygen, brain cells can be damaged or die, leading to neurological symptoms.
This blog will help you examine the stroke and tell you how to treat stroke patients. Let’s read more.
Symptoms of Stroke
The symptoms of a stroke can vary depending on the area of the brain affected and the severity of the stroke. The common acronym “FAST” can help you remember the key symptoms of a stroke:
1. Face Drooping: One side of the face may droop or feel numb. Ask the person to smile; if their smile is uneven or crooked, it could be a sign of a stroke.
2. Arm Weakness: One arm may become weak or numb. Ask the person to raise both arms; if one arm drifts downward or cannot be held up, it’s a possible sign of a stroke.
3. Speech Difficulty: Speech may become slurred or difficult to understand. Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence; if their words are distorted or hard to comprehend, it could indicate a stroke.
4. Time to Call Emergency: If you observe any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to call emergency services immediately. Time is of the essence in stroke treatment, as early intervention can minimize brain damage and improve outcomes.
Additional symptoms of a stroke can include:
- Sudden severe headache.
- Confusion, trouble understanding or speaking.
- Numbness or weakness in the leg, often on one side of the body.
- Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or coordination.
- Trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
It’s important to note that not all stroke symptoms need to be present for it to be a stroke, and the severity of symptoms can vary. If you suspect someone is experiencing a stroke, do not wait—seek medical help immediately.
When an individual experiences a stroke, time becomes a critical factor. Your actions during those crucial moments can significantly impact your chances of survival. Often referred to as a “brain attack,” a stroke occurs when a portion of the brain is deprived of the necessary oxygen and blood supply due to a clot, blockage, or vessel rupture.
The longer a stroke remains untreated, the greater the number of brain cells that succumb to damage. However, timely medical intervention can make a significant difference if the person reaches a hospital promptly.
3 Essential Steps to Take When Someone Is Having a Stroke
Here are some essential steps to follow when you find someone having a stroke. Read below:
1. Dial 911 Immediately
If nothing else, the most crucial action is to call 911 without delay. Doctors emphasize the challenge of recognizing stroke symptoms and underline the importance of immediate action.
If you observe any potential signs of a stroke, dial 911 right away. When speaking to the dispatcher, make it clear that you suspect a stroke for yourself or your loved one.
2. Note the Onset Time of Symptoms
A clot-dissolving medication called TPA (tissue plasminogen activator) can potentially be administered to a stroke patient to halt or reverse symptom progression. However, it must be given within 4.5 hours of symptom onset.
In some cases, patients might be eligible for advanced treatments like endovascular therapies at institutions like Penn Medicine. These treatments involve removing clots causing strokes or addressing aneurysms swollen vessels that rupture and lead to brain bleeding.
In the context of ischemic strokes (caused by clots or blockages), the most common type, endovascular treatments should be carried out within 24 hours of symptom emergence. Early treatment significantly improves outcomes, underscoring the critical importance of time.
Doctors advise witnesses to call 911 if you live in America and note when symptoms began promptly. If the individual is already displaying stroke symptoms upon discovery, it’s beneficial to determine when they were last seen without such symptoms. This information assists emergency personnel in making well-informed decisions about treatment options.
3. Perform CPR if Necessary
Most stroke cases do not require CPR. However, if you encounter an unconscious friend or family member, it’s essential to check their pulse and breathing. If absent, dial 911 and initiate CPR while awaiting the arrival of medical professionals.
If you’re uncertain about performing CPR, you can request guidance from the dispatcher, as the American Heart Association outlines. CPR entails steady chest compressions.
3 Actions Need to Avoid
Read the following actions carefully and try to avoid them.
1. Prevent Going to Sleep or Delaying 911
Individuals who experience a stroke might feel an overwhelming drowsiness. Doctors note that many patients mention going to sleep for a few hours after the stroke due to fatigue. Nonetheless, time is of the essence, as stroke treatments are time-sensitive.
Many doctors emphasize that staying awake and avoiding contacting a primary care physician first are crucial. Immediate transport to the emergency room is the recommended course of action.
Even if the person protests going to the Hospital, Doctors advise against relenting. Their well-being depends on prompt medical attention.
2. Refrain from Administering Medication, Food, or Drinks
There are two primary types of strokes: hemorrhagic and ischemic. The former results from a ruptured blood vessel leading to brain bleeding, while the latter is due to a clot causing vessel blockage.
It’s also vital to avoid offering food or drinks to someone displaying stroke symptoms. Stroke can affect swallowing ability, potentially leading to choking, infections, or respiratory issues.
3. Avoid Self-Transport to the Hospital
Driving a stroke victim to the nearest emergency room might seem reasonable.
In severe stroke cases, calling 911 is the better option. Emergency responders can initiate crucial treatments en route to the Hospital, as indicated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Moreover, responders ensure that the person is taken to a hospital equipped to provide immediate stroke care, as not all hospitals possess the necessary resources.
Driving yourself to the Hospital is discouraged, especially if your symptoms worsen, impacting your ability to drive safely.
Remaining Focused and Acting Swiftly
Witnessing a stroke can be distressing, but following key steps and avoiding certain actions can significantly improve the outcome for your loved one. Doctors have emphasized that the established process for treating stroke patients upon arrival at the Hospital underscores the urgency of reaching medical care as soon as possible.
Remember that stroke is a medical emergency, and healthcare professionals should provide proper diagnosis and treatment. Call emergency services immediately if you or someone you know experiences these symptoms.
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