In nearly every emergency, victims are racing against time to get help; this is no different for someone who suffers from a stroke. The American Heart Association places strokes as the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, estimating that an American suffers from a stroke about every 40 seconds. By learning the signs of a stroke and getting help to those who need it faster, we can dramatically decease the terrifying statistics.
Similar to how a heart attack affects the heart, a stroke occurs when the brain cannot get blood and oxygen due to a blocked or burst blood vessel. When this occurs, the brain cells begin to die, often resulting in disability or death.
F.A.S.T. – Recognize the Major Symptoms of a Stroke
FAST doesn’t just describe the speed at which you should act, it is a simple acronym to help you remember the major signs of a stroke. By calling 9-1-1 immediately, you can help reduce the impact a person may experience from a stroke and potentially save his or her life.
F – FACE DROOPING: Does one side of the face feel numb or droop? Ask the person to smile. If their smile is uneven, call for help.
A – ARM WEAKNESS: Is one arm weak, tingly, or numb? As the person to lift both arms. If one arm drifts downward, call for help.
S – SPEECH DIFFICULTY: Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Are basic words being used incorrectly? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, such as “the sky is blue.” If they do not repeat the sentence correctly, call for help.
T – TIME TO CALL 9-1-1: Regardless of whether they symptoms go away, if someone shows any of these signs of a stroke, it is time to call 9-1-1 and get them to a hospital immediately. Make note of the time of the first symptom, as it is very important and can affect treatment decisions.
Additional Signs of a Stroke
In addition to the major symptoms, as listed above, there are some additional symptoms to look out for, including sudden:
- Numbness or weakness of the leg, arm, or face
- Confusion or trouble understanding
- Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination
- Severe headache with no known cause
The more educated we become about recognizing the signs of a stroke, the higher the likelihood of getting a stroke victim help before it’s too late. At Premier Aquatics Services, we believe in preparing all of our clients with essential lifesaving skills. From childhood swim lessons to American Red Cross Health and Safety Classes, we provide trainings all year long.