Act F.A.S.T.! Early Warning Signs of a Stroke

Signs of a Stroke

Recognizing the early warning signs of a stroke is imperative for prompt treatment.

Each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 800,000 Americans are diagnosed as having a stroke. While the risk of stroke increases with age, strokes can occur in people of all ages. A stroke occurs when blood supply is blocked from part of the brain or when a blood vessel bursts, causing parts of the brain to become damaged or to die. Visiting Care Giving Services, the in home care St. Charles families trusts, is working to increase awareness about strokes, as well as share information about early warning signs of a stroke and prevention, during May, which has been designated as National Stroke Awareness Month.

While strokes are a leading medical emergency in the United States, the good news is that when warning signs of a stroke and symptoms are identified early, treatment can begin the moment emergency medical services arrives. In both men and women, the sudden onset of the following symptoms may indicate a stroke is occurring:

  • Numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding speech
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Difficulty walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or lack of coordination
  • Severe headache with no known cause

It is imperative that 9-1-1 is called immediately if you or a loved one has any of these warning signs of a stroke.

Act F.A.S.T.

In order for individuals to get the stroke treatments needed, and for those to be most effective, acting F.A.S.T is imperative. When stroke symptoms are recognized and diagnosed within three hours of initial onset, physicians and other emergency medical team members give patients the best chance of survival.

If you think someone may be having a stroke, act F.A.S.T. and do the following simple test:

  • F—Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
  • A—Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • S—Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is the speech slurred or strange?
  • T—Time: If you see any of these signs, call 9-1-1 right away.

Stroke Prevention

In order to help prevent strokes, it’s important to make lifestyle changes to both manage chronic health conditions that put people at higher risk for stroke, and to develop daily habits that promote overall health and wellbeing.

Healthy Living Habits:

  • Diet – eating nutritionally-balanced meals and snacks, reducing sodium and saturated fat and including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Exercise – routine, moderate physical activity each week helps maintain a healthy weigh and lowers cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
  • Smoking – if you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, work with your doctor to implement a plan and a support system that can help you quit.
  • Alcohol – limit daily alcohol intake in order to help keep blood pressure levels in check.

Control Medical Conditions:

  • Cholesterol – cholesterol levels should be checked during an annual physical, and if you are prescribed medication to help lower cholesterol, it’s important to take it as directed.
  • Blood Pressure – high blood pressure often has no symptoms, so it’s important to have it monitored and checked regularly by a doctor.
  • Heart Disease – heart disease can increase a person’s risk of stroke. It’s important to work with your physician to determine the best treatment options – medication, surgery, or both.
  • Diabetes – eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise are two ways to keep diabetes in check. Regular appointments with your doctor and taking medication, if prescribed, are also imperative to keeping blood sugar under control.

At Visiting Care Giving Services, our highly-trained team of compassionate care provider professionals can help seniors make and maintain healthy lifestyle choices, from planning and preparing nutritious meals to assisting with and encouraging physician-approved exercise programs. If a loved one has recently had a stroke and is recovering at home, let our home care team help with medication reminders, transferring and ambulation, daily personal care needs, and much more.

To learn more about the in home care St. Charles families trust, reach out to us today at (636) 493-9058 to schedule a free consultation. For information on our full service area, please visit this page.