When a Stroke Strikes, Time is of the Essence
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 800,000 Americans suffer from a stroke each year. And of those — more than 600,000 will be first-time stroke sufferers.
In recognition of National Stroke Awareness Month, learn why it’s important to B.E. F.A.S.T. in addressing an individual’s condition if you believe they are having a stroke.
What is a Stroke?
To understand how important it is to look for emergent signs of a stroke, it’s important to also understand how this condition can impact your loved one’s health and future.
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of a patient’s brain is interrupted or reduced, which prevents their brain tissue from getting oxygen and nutrients. Brain cells then begin to die — in a matter of minutes. From trouble speaking to paralysis, the symptoms a person is left with are often life-altering.
Many of the leading risk factors for a stroke have to do with lifestyle choices — meaning you can lower your risk of a stroke substantially but changing your daily activities and habits. Today, the leading causes of a stroke are:
- High blood pressure.
- High cholesterol.
- Smoking or tobacco use.
This means that the following changes can help prevent a life-altering stroke:
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- Staying physically active
- Quitting smoking.
- Consuming alcohol in moderation.
- Preventing or treating high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes.
B.E.F.A.S.T. to Save a Life
If a stroke victim is brought to the hospital within three hours of their initial symptoms, they often have fewer disabilities three months later than someone who was brought in several hours or even days after a stroke. That’s why recognizing the signs of a stroke is vital, and in many cases, can save a life.
This B.E. F.A.S.T. guideline can help you remember the important signs to look out for so that your loved one can receive timely care.
- Balance: Is there a sudden loss of balance or coordination?
- Eyes: Is the person having a sudden change in vision or trouble seeing?
- Face is drooping: Typically during a stroke, one side of a person’s face will begin to fall or appear paralyzed.
- Arm weakness: It’s common for one arm to be more difficult to raise than the other.
- Speech difficulty: Is the person’s speech slurred or slow?
- Time to call 911: If you notice or experience even one of the above symptoms, it’s important to contact 911 right away.
Additional Stroke Symptoms to Note
While the B.E. F.A.S.T. acronym serves as a good baseline of information to remember, the American Heart Association recently released a list of additional symptoms everyone should be aware of:
- Very sudden confusion or disorientation.
- Difficulty seeing out of one or both eyes.
- Trouble walking (often due to a numb or weak leg).
- Complications with coordination, like not being able to grab a cup or utensil.
- A sudden and severe headache in a person with no history of headaches.
Observational Services in Arlington
Fortunately for our residents in Arlington and neighboring communities, our emergency center is approved by the state of Texas to observe our patients in observational units for up to 23 hours given that the procedure or treatment cannot be performed or require additional monitoring past a 3-hour turnaround period.
We are able to evaluate the cause and source of ischemic strokes as well as fainting. Using beat-to-beat heart rate monitoring along with blood pressure assessments, carotid Doppler ultrasounds, and other neurological testing, our staff is committed to pinpointing the cause of the problem.
Whether you recently suffered a stroke or are undergoing rehab following a stroke, our team at PrimeCare Emergency Center is committed to delivering quality care. Visit us at our emergency care facility in Arlington for quick and reliable treatment of your prolonged health concerns, or contact us online for more information.