Oct. 29 is World Stroke Day. Knowing the signs of a stroke can save your life or someone else’s. If you suspect someone is having a stroke, it’s important not to waste time trying to get a hold of a doctor or driving to the hospital – emergency help is necessary. Getting immediate treatment can prevent brain damage, disability or even death. Below, we’ll share a simple acronym that’s easy to remember to help you recognize stroke symptoms.
Strokes are a leading cause of death and disability in the U.S. – but what exactly is a stroke? A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain stops. This can cause brain cells to die, affecting the whole body. Knowing the signs and symptoms of a stroke, and acting quickly can mean the difference between life and death because symptoms surface suddenly, without warning.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the following are signs someone may be having a stroke:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion or trouble speaking
- Sudden blurred vision in one or both eyes
- Sudden dizziness, difficulty walking, or loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
Even if you only experience one of the symptoms above, don’t hesitate to call 9-1-1. It is possible to experience a stroke without experiencing all the symptoms. Try to take note of the time you first noticed symptoms. Health care professionals will want to know when they occurred because receiving medication within three hours of experiencing symptoms can greatly reduce the risk of long-term disability.
It’s important to note that women may experience unique stroke symptoms, such as:
- Shortness of breath
- Sudden behavioral changes
Spot a Stroke F.A.S.T.
Face Drooping: Ask the person to smile to see if one side of their face droops.
Arm Weakness: Have them raise their arms and see if one drops or is weaker than the other.
Speech Difficulty: Say something and ask them to repeat it to check for slurred speech.
Time to Call 9-1-1: Don’t hesitate; speedy treatment increases the chance of a full recovery.
It’s not too late to put together a quick campaign in time for World Stroke Day to educate your employees about the symptoms of stroke. You can put up posters around your workplace or send a company-wide email with this potentially life-saving info. Check out the American Heart Association’s Stroke Resource Center to access free posters, handouts and more.
“Learn to Recognize the Signs of a Stroke,” Robin Madell, healthline.com, accessed Sept. 6, 2017.
“Symptoms of a Stroke,” goredforwomen.org, accessed Sept. 6, 2017.