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Do You Know Signs of a Stroke?

A stroke occurs when the blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off. When an area of the brain is deprived of oxygen the cells begin to die. When these cells die due to a stroke the abilities (motor-movement or cognitive) that are controlled but that area of the brain are lost. There are 2 types of strokes; ischemic and hemorrhagic. An ischemic stroke is caused by a blockage or clot in a blood vessel, while a hemorrhagic stroke is caused by a vessel burst (aneurysm) or a vessel leak. The effect of a stroke on the individual varies greatly depending on size of area and which part of the brain is involved. The prognosis of strokes also varies as some people recovery completely from a small stroke, while others have deficits and impairments that can be permanent. It is also important to know what a TIA or Transient Ischemic Attack is, as these can be a warning sign for a much larger and damaging attack. A TIA can be referred to as a “mini stroke” and the symptoms are most commonly temporary. Now that you know a little more about what a stroke is, let us talk about the warning signs- as they may help save a loved ones or your own life. There is a common acronym used as a mnemonic to recall the signs or to “spot” a stroke.

The acronym is F.A.S.T. F: Facial drooping; ie. Does one side of the face sag or is it numb? You can ask the person to smile to see if it is uneven. A: Arm weakness; ask the person to raise their arms out in front of them and see if one arm drifts downward. Also, is it numb? S: Speech difficulties; ie. Is there slurred speech? T: Time; if someone shows any of these symptoms call 911 and get them care immediately as time does matter!

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