Simply put, a stroke is a “brain attack”. It can happen to anyone at any time. It occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off. When this happens, brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die. When brain cells die during a stroke, abilities controlled by that area of the brain such as memory and muscle control are lost.
Sound pretty serious, right? Well, let us ask you another question. If you or a loved suffered a stroke, would you be able to recognize the warning signs so that you could take quick action and possibly save a life – even your own?
“I don’t think people recognize the signs of stroke enough to know. This is a reminder that as soon as you see these symptoms you have no time to waste, you need to call 911 immediately.
We now have a lot of newer therapies that work on patients with stroke but they’re time sensitive,” according to Dr. Patrice Lindsay, a director at the Heart & Stroke Foundation.
Lindsey told reports that in the organization’s latest polling, over 40 per cent of Canadians said they knew someone who had a stroke.
But when they were asked about stroke signs, 40 per cent of Canadians admitted they didn’t know any of the symptoms of stroke. Only 24 per cent knew at least two signs and only six per cent knew three signs.
Health officials rely on the FAST mnemonic – the easiest way to recognize signs of stroke. It’s translated into several other languages and used globally.
Look at the person’s face, for starters to see if one-half is drooping or frozen in place.
Check to see if you or your loved one can raise both arms, or if they’re unable to move one or more limbs at all.
When it comes to speech, you could be struggling to make sentences or you could sound like you have a mouthful of marbles.
Time is crucial. Brain cells die at a rate of two million per minute after stroke, Lindsay warned. Restoring normal blood flow sooner rather than later makes a significant difference.
And she should know, for Lindsay has invaluable insight into the plight of stroke survivors. She was 38 when she suffered a stroke while reading a bedtime story to her kids, 2 and 5.
“I was feeling unwell and within a couple of minutes, I lost the feeling of my entire left side of my body. I couldn’t move my arm or leg. Luckily my husband heard me bang my other leg on the floor and called 911,” she recounted.Advertisement