What Is a Stroke and What Are the Warning Signs?

Each year, over 795,000 Americans have a stroke. A stroke is a serious health condition that needs immediate medical care, whether it’s a person’s first or subsequent stroke. Strokes are one of the leading causes of long-term disability. Like any medical condition, it’s important to know what a stroke is and what the warning signs are. This can end up saving you or your loved one’s life. Let’s take a closer look to learn more about this serious condition.

What Is a Stroke?

Also known as a brain attack, a stroke takes place when blood flow to part of the brain stops or when a blood vessel inside the brain bursts. This causes the brain cells to begin to die within minutes because the blood flow needed to get oxygen to the brain is blocked. Strokes can impact the entire body and can lead to permanent brain damage, long-term disability, and even death. Any person showing signs of a stroke needs immediate medical attention.

What Are the Main Types of Strokes?

There are three main types of stroke, which include:

  • Hemorrhagic stroke: this is caused by a ruptured blood vessel.
  • Ischemic stroke: this is caused by a blockage in the arteries.
  • Transient ischemic attack (TIA): also called a mini stroke, this is caused by a temporary blockage in the arteries. Unlike ischemic strokes, mini strokes don’t cause lasting damage. However, they do increase a person’s likelihood for having a stroke.

Immediate Medical Care is Essential

When a person is having a stroke, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) indicates that receiving emergency medical help within the first hour helps prevent the person from becoming permanently disabled or dying. You or your loved one may be hesitant to call 9-1-1, especially if only one of the warning signs are visible. However, stroke is a serious medical condition that requires immediate medical care. The American Heart Association (AHA) and American Stroke Association (ASA) recommend that people receive a drug that dissolves blood clots within the first 4.5 hours of showing stroke warning signs. By receiving immediate medical attention, people are more likely to recover and avoid having long-term disability.

What Are the Warning Signs?

The warning signs of a stroke come on suddenly with little warning. Indeed, it’s important to know what to look out for, so you can be prepared. Knowing the stroke warning signs can save you or your loved one’s life and help prevent serious long-term effects, such as disability, brain damage, and loss of speech. 

Act F.A.S.T

The National Stroke Association recommends using the term “FAST” to recognize common warning signs of a stroke. 

  • Face: A person’s face will droop or have an uneven smile.
  • Arms: A person will have numbness or weakness in their arm. If you aren’t sure, ask the person to raise their arms – if their arms drop down or aren’t steady, this is a warning sign.
  • Speech difficulty: A person will find it difficult to speak. If you ask the person to repeat a simple phrase and their speech is slurred, they may be having a stroke.
  • Time: When a person is showing signs of a stroke, it’s important to act fast. Remember to also keep track of when the warning signs began. This will help the medical team provide the best treatment based on when the stroke symptoms started.

Other Symptoms include:

  • Difficulty walking
  • Fatigue
  • Numbness in limbs
  • Vision issues

Remember to always call 9-1-1 if you or a loved one are showing signs of a stroke. Even if a person only has one or two symptoms, it’s crucial that you seek immediate medical help. A person that receives quick medical help has a greater chance of making a full recovery. 

At Liberty Healthcare and Rehabilitation Services, our expert staff is dedicated to providing high-quality, compassionate care to meet your specific health needs, such as recovering from a stroke or major surgery. Contact us today to learn how we provide the best quality care and support you deserve to regain your independence, function, and achieve the highest quality of life possible.