Do You Know the Signs & Symptoms of a Stroke? Part 1

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JEFFERSON, Iowa - A stroke is a life-threatening condition that occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted by a clogged or burst artery. This deprives the brain of blood and oxygen, causing brain cells to die. A stroke can cause damage to parts of the brain and result in loss of functions controlled by the damaged part.

When should I present at the Emergency Room?

Strokes often go undetected because some of the symptoms may subside quickly. However, these life-threatening events are the third leading cause of death in America. If a stroke is suspected, you should present to the Emergency Room or seek medical attention immediately. Time is of the essence, as the sooner you begin receiving treatment, the better the chances of a positive outcome.

Signs and Symptoms of a stroke:

  • Sudden weakness or numbness of the face, arm or leg on one side of the body.
  • Sudden dimness or loss of vision, especially in one eye.
  • Loss of speech, trouble talking or understanding what others are saying.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
  • Unexplained dizziness, unstable walking or falling, especially if you have any of the other symptoms.
  • Sudden loss of bladder or bowel control.
  • Sudden problems with memory, thinking or problem solving.

In some instances, people may have additional symptoms that are nontraditional, such as an abrupt yet severe headache which could be accompanied by other symptoms. Other stroke symptoms may only last a few minutes and then subside. This is what we refer to as a “mini-stroke” or a transient ischemic attack (TIA). TIAs are serious medical events and require immediate treatment.

If you think a loved one is having a stroke, follow a simple test known as the F.A.S.T. test.

Face – look for a droop in one side of the face when they smile.

Arms – ask them to lift their arms and look for one arm to lower.

Speech – say a phrase and ask them to repeat it, be aware if any words come out strange or slurred.

Time – if they are unable to successfully complete the above commands, call 911 immediately.