A stroke is a medical emergency that can happen to anyone, but it’s more common among older adults. In fact, it is the leading cause of disability and the fifth leading cause of death in the elderly. In this blog we discuss the common signs of a stroke and also talk about what you can do while waiting for emergency services to arrive.
What is a stroke?
A stroke occurs when blood supply to the brain is blocked. This can happen as the result of a blocked artery or a ruptured artery and is sometimes called a brain attack.
A stroke is serious and life threatening. It is a medical emergency that requires urgent treatment to minimise further damage to the brain and to improve the persons change of recovery.
How to identify the signs of a stroke?
The most common signs of a stroke are:
- The mouth has drooped
- The person can’t lift their arms
- Confusion or trouble speaking, speech can be slurred and the person may not be able to understand you
There are other signs as well including:
- Numbness in the limbs and face
- Dizziness, lost balance, loss of coordination or falling over for no reason
- Impaired or lost vision
- Difficulty swallowing
- Nausea and vomiting
It’s important to note that people may experience different symptoms depending on the severity of the stroke or the location of the stroke.
Get help as soon as possible
Being able to identify the signs of a stroke is important. If notice any sudden change in the persons behaviour or abilities and you suspect a stroke seek urgent medical attention.
A stroke can cause severe disability or even death. Time is of the essence and the sooner the person receives treatment, the better their chances of recovery.
What immediate action can you take while waiting for emergency services to arrive.
- Call emergency services and stay as calm as possible while waiting for help.
- Check breathing, if they are not breathing perform CPR.
- If the person is conscious, lay them down in a comfortable position with the head and shoulders elevated and supported
- Loosen any tight clothing to make breathing easier
- Cover them with a warm blanket
- Don’t give them anything to eat or drink
- If the person vomits, turn them on their side.
- Observe the person carefully and tell the emergency operator about their symptoms. The operator will stay on the phone with you until help arrives.
Stroke risk factors increase as people age. These may include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Being overweight
- Alcohol consumption
- Bad diet
- Not being physically fit
Prevention is the best cure. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, and managing medical conditions such as high blood pressure and cholesterol can reduce the risk of stroke.
Remember every minute counts so if you suspect a stroke it is essential to act fast.