“Time is brain” when a stroke occurs. Each moment that the brain of the stroke victim is without oxygen, the more damage to the victim’s long term health and abilities the stroke will inflict.
At Vascular Specialists, Dr. Tanquilut and Dr. Pradhan want you to be able to confidently help when a loved one is the victim of a stroke – and to recognize the symptoms if it happens to you! By following the recommendations of the American Stroke Association, you can help your loved one.
When you can identify the signs of a stroke quickly and act quickly to summon help, medical personnel will be able to intervene quickly – which means the chances of a better recovery are exponentially improved. If blood flow can be restored or improved within two hours of initial symptoms – no matter how minor – of an ischemic stroke, caused by a clot blocking a blood vessel in the brain, permanent damage can often be avoided.
How can you do this as quickly as needed? By thinking F.A.S.T.! Using the acronym F.A.S.T, you can be better aware of the onset of a stroke and call 9-1-1 immediately to summon emergency medical help.
F – FACE DROOPING. If you suspect someone is having a stroke, ask them to smile. If the smile is uneven, or one side of the face is numb, especially on one side of the body, it’s a symptom of stroke.
A – ARM WEAKNESS. Tell the person to raise both of their arms and hold them at shoulder height. If there is weakness or numbness in one arm, they will be unable to lift it, or it will drift downward without their control, also a symptom of stroke.
S – SPEECH DIFFICULTY. Can you clearly understand the person? Are they unable to speak at all? If their speech sounds slurred and they are too panicked to talk, ask them to repeat a simple sentence, such as “The weather is fine today.” The person also may not understand what you are saying, or may seem too confused to repeat your sentence.
T – TIME TO CALL 9-1-1. If someone shows any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1. Make a note of the time the symptoms first appeared. Even if the symptoms resolve themselves quickly, call 9-1-1. When you see stroke symptoms in someone, or feel them in yourself, it is time to act F.A.S.T. and call 9-1-1 without hesitation.
Other stroke symptoms to note are sudden vision problems, loss of balance, dizziness and trouble walking, or a sudden severe headache.
You may think of driving the stroke victim to the hospital yourself, but it’s much more often better to call 9-1-1. When the ambulance arrives, EMTs can begin medical intervention immediately. They will also keep hospital staff abreast of the situation so staff is prepared to act the moment the person comes through the door of the Emergency Department.
After you’ve called 9-1-1, keep the person calm and safe, lying on their side if possible. Don’t offer any food or drink, as this could be a choking hazard.
In the case of a stroke, remember that “time is brain”. Your victim will recover more quickly and more thoroughly when you act F.A.S.T – and call 9-1-1 immediately.
Questions about stroke symptoms or stroke treatment? Call Vascular Specialists at 815-824-4406. Dr. Tanquilut and Dr. Pradhan, in New Lenox and Olympia Fields, are ready to answer your questions thoroughly!