It can happen at any time, and when it does, precious seconds can mean the difference between a path to recovery and severe brain damage.
We’re talking about a stroke, which occurs when the blood supply to an area of our brain is suddenly cut off. Knowing the signs that a stroke is imminent can not only save you from permanent incapacitation, but it just might save your life or the life of someone you love.
Not all strokes present equally; symptoms depend on the area of your brain that is affected and the degree to which the brain tissue is deprived of its blood supply. If you’re having a mild stroke, for example, you might experience temporary weakness in one of your limbs, but a more severe stroke could render you paralyzed on one side of your body, or you may not be able to speak. Unless the blood supply is swiftly restored – either naturally (as in the case of a transient ischemic attack or “mini-stroke”) or through medical treatment – the effects of the stroke could be permanent.
It is possible to fully recover from a stroke, but more than two-thirds of all survivors do not, suffering some form of disability. That is why knowing the signs of a stroke and reacting quickly is so critical.
You can remember the warning signs and symptoms of stroke by associating them with the acronym F.A.S.T., which was coined by the American Stroke Association and stands for:
- Face drooping. A stroke victim may experience numbness on one side of the face to the extent that it sags.
- Arm weakness. The victim may not be able to raise or move an arm.
- Speech difficulty. A stroke may slur a person’s speech, or render dialogue totally incomprehensible.
- Time to call 911. If the person exhibits any of these symptoms, don’t hesitate to call 9-1-1 or take them to the hospital immediately – even if the symptoms disappear. Remember, time is of the essence.
Other possible stroke signs and symptoms include:
- Weakness, numbness or paralysis anywhere on the body.
- Trouble walking or loss of balance and coordination.
- Blurred vision, impaired eyesight or involuntary eye movements.
- Dizziness, confusion, loss of sensation, or memory loss.
- Unusually severe headache.
- Muscle stiffness or difficulty swallowing.
Note: Any of these symptoms may occur with a mini-stroke and they may go away on their own. Nevertheless, remember to act FAST if you or someone else is experiencing these signs. At the very least, swift action on your part can help avoid long-term disability – if not save a life.
Intercoastal Medical Group is a multi-specialty practice specializing in primary care, and much more. With more than 85 doctors in eight locations across Sarasota and Manatee County, we make it easy to find a qualified doctor at a location that’s convenient for you.
For more information about our services or to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors, please call Intercoastal Medical Group in Sarasota and Manatee County, Florida. You can also request an appointment online now.