I know I've blogged about this before, but it is so important and has been brought home again over the past two days.
Here are the stroke warning signs:
- Headache. Sudden severe and unusual headache, especially with no known cause. This is what happened to two friends who suffered strokes recently.
- Vision Troubles. Sudden trouble with vision in one or both eyes, even if temporary.
- Dizziness. Sudden loss of balance or trouble walking, especially when combined with any of the other signs listed here.
- Trouble Speaking. Sudden difficulty speaking or understanding; or sudden confusion, even if temporary.
- Weakness. Sudden loss of strength or sudden numbness in the face, arm, or leg, even if temporary.
One triage-type of diagnosis is the following. It's rough, but it might help.
- Ask the person
- to smile
- to raise both arms
- to speak a simple sentence
There is some evidence that speedy recognition of the symptoms of a stroke (blood clot in the brain) will permit quick treatment with a much higher chance of survival.
We keep these lists (above) on our fridge door.
Jack's comments, which I included in my original post, really bear repeating:
There is an additional bit of information to be aware of: the possibility of reversing the impact of a stroke if one gets proper medical treatment within three hours of symptom onset. This applies to the majority of strokes which are caused by blockages in blood supply to part of the brain. It does not apply to those caused by bleeding into the brain. The steps required for possible stroke 'reversal' are:
1/ Get to a major hospital emergency department as soon as possible, and certainly within three hours of symptom onset.
2/ Bring up the possibility of administering clot-busting drugs to the emergency MD immediately; if he/she is on the ball and facilities permit, an emergency CT scan should follow very quickly. The CT is necessary to detemine if the stroke is caused by a blockage /clot (good) or a bleed (bad). If it is the former, then you should receive a clot busting drug intravenously. All of this ideally transpires within a three hour time frame of symptom onset.
Don't assume this will automatically happen. [There are instances when it hasn't.]
This link is an older statement for the public, but still applies.
And this link gives a broader context to treatment.