Recognize These 7 Signs of Stroke

Confused older woman being comforted by friend
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When someone survives a stroke - there is always a hero involved. Because of the disabling changes that occur during a stroke, it is rare for a person having a stroke to drive himself to the hospital or even to make a phone call for an ambulance. It is usually an insightful companion or bystander who notices that something isn't quite right and calls for help instead of shaking it off.

If You Suspect Stroke Symptoms

You may notice the early stroke symptoms of one of your coworkers, a customer at your place of work, someone in a restaurant, at your place of worship, someone working out at the fitness center or someone at a party.

The symptoms of a stroke are serious and possibly even life threatening.  Effective medications for a stroke have to be administered by a healthcare professional within a very short window of time after the stroke symptoms begin. So you needn’t worry that you might come across as nosy or meddling if you suspect that someone may be having a stroke. If you are the ‘person’ who is nearby someone who might be having a stroke – your best course of action is to call for emergency medical attention right away.

Stroke Symptoms That Everyone Should be Able to Recognize

Confusion- if you are talking to someone who becomes unusually confused, it is essential to take this seriously. Confusion is a medical problem.

Falling- it is important to call for professional help if you observe someone falling or losing balance. Falls can cause serious injuries to the brain or spine and you should not try to move a person who has fallen.

It is best to stay and watch the victim of a fall until a trained medical expert arrives. 

Speech Changes - slurred speech, garbled speech or words that do not make sense are signs of a brain injury. When speech alterations occur suddenly, this is almost always a sign of a stroke.

Face Changes- a lopsided, uneven appearance of the face is a sign of a stroke.

Mouth drooping, eyelid drooping or uneven eyelids are also characteristics of a stroke. Of course, some people do not have perfectly symmetrical faces to begin with. But a change in someone you know, or an obvious asymmetry, is usually a sign of stroke.

Unusual behavior- a person’s social behavior and interactions require intact brain function. When people suddenly begin to act strange or inappropriate, a stroke may be the cause.

Vision Changes-when people have vision changes due to a stroke, they may lose vision or may lose small areas of vision. If you suspect that someone is not seeing the same objects you are seeing, you need to treat this as a medical emergency because many strokes affect vision, including strokes of the eye itself.

Arm weakness- arm weakness, especially on one side, is one of the hallmark symptoms of stroke.

Any of the symptoms of stroke can develop either isolated or in combination. Time is of essence, so calling for help right away is your best option if you are in a situation with someone who has any of the symptoms listed above.

The Importance of Bystanders in Stroke

Because strokes are not physically painful and because they can impair a stroke victim’s level of awareness and ability to communicate, bystanders are of more value than in any other medical emergency. Your fast response can save a life. Additionally, your observations of the stroke as it developed can play a vital role as part of the medical history, aiding the stroke care team as they determine a plan of action.

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