Today, I will be touching on a heavy topic and yet this could concern you and I and people around us. According to the National Stroke Association, Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and is the leading cause of adult disability in America. Fortunately, according to them, “up to 80% of strokes are preventable.” Thus we have the POWER in us to prevent Stroke.
What is Stroke?
According to MayoClinic.com, “A Stroke occurs when the blood supply to a part of your brain is interrupted or severely reduced, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and nutrients. Within a few minutes, brain cells begin to die.” And according to the fact sheet by National Stroke Association, “Two million brain cells die every minute during stroke, increasing risk of permanent brain damage, disability or death. Recognizing symptoms and acting fast to get medical attention can save a life and limit disabilities.”
In so speaking, acting timely is important and it can very well be the deciding factor on whether the person suffering from a stroke attack can recover completely. Therapy with clot-busting drugs must start within three hours. Quick treatment not only improves a person’s chances of survival, but may also reduce the amount of complications resulting from the stroke attack. The challenge is recognizing stroke symptoms as many are not aware of them.
How do we recognize the Stroke Symptoms?
The symptoms of Stroke include:
Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg; especially on one side of the body Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination Sudden severe headache with no known cause
In addition to these stroke symptoms, there is also an easy test to further determine if a person has suffered from a stroke attack or are having the symptoms of Stroke. I received an email from a friend on this simple test and decided to Google for some information to check its validity. True enough, I found a few sources providing the same information.
This simple test will help you detect stroke symptoms and act F.A.S.T.
F: Facial weakness, can the person smile; have their mouth or eyes drooped?
A: Arm weakness, can the person raise both arms? Does one arm drift downward?
S: Speech difficulty, can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?
T: Time to act, act FAST and call for ambulance or paramedics immediately
According to the email, it mentioned that there is one more way to know if a person has suffered a stroke – ask the person to stick out his/her tongue (I have not been able to verify this point). If the tongue is not straight or droops or slants to one side rather than coming straight out of his/her mouth, it is an indication of a Stroke.
If the person has difficulty in performing any one of these tasks, it is likely that he/she has suffered a stroke attack and medical help should be IMMEDIATELY called for.
Prevention of Stroke
As the saying goes, “Prevention is better than cure.” Fortunately, we do have the POWER in us to prevent stroke. Let us take a look at some of the factors which may help in preventing a stroke attack:
Control high blood pressure (hypertension). Lower your cholesterol and saturated fat intake. Don’t smoke. Control diabetes. Maintain a healthy weight. Exercise regularly. Manage stress. Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all
Remember, if we can act F.A.S.T with a person who has just suffered from a stroke attack by identifying the stroke symptoms, we not only save the person’s life but also improve the person’s chances of a complete recovery. Please share this F.A.S.T. It may just save someone today.
Health Promotion Board of Singapore
Photo credit: Darko Stojanovic
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