A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain has been unexpectedly and suddenly interrupted or cut off. Strokes pose serious health risks, the biggest of which is death. There are signs that you can look for to determine if you or somebody you love may be having a stroke. By knowing the symptoms of a stroke, you can seek medical immediately and potentially save a life.
A person who is having a stroke may experience either numbness or weakness on one entire side of his body. This could be found in the face, arm, hand or leg. A man who is having a stroke may also not be able to speak correctly (may mumble or pronounce words incorrectly). Not being able to write or understand written or spoken words are 2 other signs that a person may be having a stroke. Finally, impaired vision and confusion and the inability to stand or walk straight are all symptoms of a stroke. Some people experiencing a stroke may even fall to the ground.
A man having a stroke may also be unaware that it is taking place, and he may give few outward signs that one is occurring. Being able to notice very tiny signs will help you determine if somebody is having a stroke. For example, you should listen to the person when he is speaking. If his speech is slurred or you can tell that he is having trouble focusing his eyesight, he may be currently having a stroke. Signs of confusion, not understanding and loss of sight may also be present.
What to Do
If you or someone you know is experiencing minor symptoms, such as weakness in one side or dizziness, you should call your doctor first. These symptoms may not necessarily mean that a stroke is occurring. However, if somebody is experiencing more serious symptoms, such as inability to speak or stand, you should immediately call 911. Just as with a heart attack, every second counts for a person having a stroke. As the public service announcements state, "Time Lost is Brain Lost." If you are uncomfortable with what is happening, regardless of symptoms, call emergency medical services. Heart attack and stroke victims can benefit greatly from treatments if started early enough.
People who smoke are more likely to experience a stroke than non-smokers. If you do smoke, you should stop doing so ASAP. Individuals with heart disease or who have problems managing their blood pressure, cholesterol or weight also are at risk for a stroke. These people should have routine check-ups with their doctor in order to get these problems under control. Diabetes is another disease that could lead to a person having a stroke sometime in his life. Keeping your blood sugar at a healthy level will help keep you from having a stroke.
A person who has had a stroke before is susceptible to having another. One way to test that person's brain function on a daily basis is to give daily crosswords and/or word find puzzles. These puzzles serve as a rehabilitation tool for somebody who has had a stroke and can also determine how that person's brain is functioning. Another test is the clock test. Ask the person to draw the face of a standard clock with all the numbers written on the clock. If the person cannot do this, you should contact your doctor to let him know.
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