Stroke Care

Stroke Awareness: Recognizing the Signs and Saving Lives

May Stroke Awareness Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about the signs and symptoms of stroke, as well as the importance of acting swiftly in case of an emergency. According to the CDC, stroke affects more than 795,000 people each year—many of whom have had a previous stroke.

The good news is that strokes can be prevented, treated and even managed. But in order to do these things, it’s important to learn more about strokes, and who is most susceptible.

 

What is a Stroke?

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted, either due to a blockage or the rupture of blood vessels in the brain. This interruption can prevent oxygen and vital nutrients from reaching the brain, causing brain cells to become damaged or die, which can lead to various physical and cognitive impairments.

There are two main types of strokes: ischemic and hemorrhagic. Simply put, ischemic strokes occur when a blood clot blocks an artery in the brain, while hemorrhagic strokes occur when a blood vessel bursts and bleeds into the brain tissue.

 

Who is at greatest risk for a stroke?

While strokes can affect people of all ages, certain individuals may be more susceptible to having a stroke. Older adults, particularly those over the age of 55, have a higher risk of experiencing a stroke.

Additionally, individuals with certain risk factors may be more prone to strokes.

Common risk factors include:

Hypertension: Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is one of the leading risk factors for strokes. When a person has hypertension, the increased pressure on the arteries can lead to damage over time. It can strain blood vessels and make them more susceptible to damage and blockage.

Smoking and tobacco use: Smoking increases the risk of a stroke by damaging blood vessels and facilitating the formation of blood clots. Quitting smoking can significantly reduce your risk of having a stroke.

Diabetes: Uncontrolled diabetes can contribute to the formation of blood clots and the narrowing of blood vessels, increasing the risk of a stroke. If you don’t know whether you have diabetes, talk to your doctor. If you do have diabetes, it’s important to manage your blood sugar levels and regularly take any prescribed medications.

High cholesterol and atherosclerosis: The buildup of cholesterol and fatty deposits in the blood vessels can lead to the narrowing and blockage of arteries, which can trigger a stroke.

Obesity and sedentary lifestyle: Being overweight or obese and leading a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to high blood pressure, diabetes, and other risk factors for strokes. If you want to make a lifestyle change, the best way to get started is by eating healthy and exercising for at least 20 minutes a day. These simple changes can improve overall health—and reduce your risk of stroke in the future.

Family history: Individuals with a family history of stroke may have a higher risk of experiencing one themselves. It’s important to learn more about your family’s medical history and discuss it with your doctor, as they can help you determine if there are any steps you should take to reduce your risk.

 

Stroke Awareness Month: Recognizing the Signs and Saving Lives

 

Identifying a Stroke:

Remember, strokes can happen to anyone, but seniors are particularly at risk. Make sure to be alert and aware of your senior loved one, especially if they have one or more of the common risk factors.

Knowing how to identify the signs of a stroke and taking quick action can make all the difference in saving a life.

One simple way to remember the signs of a stroke and what action to take is by using the easy-to-remember FAST scale:

F: Face Drooping – One side of the face may droop or become numb. Ask the person to smile. Is their smile uneven?

A: Arm Weakness – One arm may be weak or numb. Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S: Speech Difficulty – Speech may be slurred or difficult to understand. Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Are they struggling to speak?

T: Time to Call 911 – If you observe any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to act quickly! Call emergency services immediately and note the time when the symptoms first appeared.

Being able to recognize these signs and take prompt action can significantly improve the chances of survival and minimize long-term disability in the event of a stroke. Time is of the essence when dealing with a stroke, so don’t hesitate to dial 911 if you suspect someone is having a stroke.

To make things simple, here is a chart you can save, or refer if you believe a loved one may be having a stroke.

 

Home Care Assistance FAST Scale

 

If your loved one has had a stroke and is in need of additional care, our specialized caregivers are professionally trained to help their specific needs. Not only do we offer 24/7, around the clock care, but our caregivers bring quality compassion and knowledge to every client, so you and your loved ones can have greater peace of mind.

 

This Stroke Awareness Month, let’s work together to spread awareness, educate our communities, and empower individuals to take action when it comes to stroke prevention and response. Together, we can make a difference and save lives.

Stay informed, stay alert, and remember to act FAST in case of a stroke emergency. Your quick actions could help save a life.

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Home Care Assistance of Dayton can help you or a loved one today.

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