So this past week, a friend of mine was at work and she all of a sudden got very dizzy, put her head down on the table and said that she did not feel good at all. Her blood pressure was 210/120 which is extremely high. She was vomiting as well. 911 was called and she was rushed to the hospital. She was diagnosed as having a stroke. I thought that I would review the signs and symptoms of strokes because it was the quick thinking of her co-workers that got her quick medical attention.
There are 3 types of strokes:
- Ischemic Strokes
- Hemorrhagic Strokes
- Transient Ischemic Strokes
According to the American Heart Association, here are some stroke statistics:
- Nearly 800,000 (approximately 795,000) people in the United States have a stroke every year, with about three in four being first-time strokes.
- Stroke is the No. 5 cause of death in the United States, killing nearly 130,000 people a year (128,978). That’s one in every 20 deaths.
- Someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds.
- Every 4 minutes, someone dies of a stroke.
- Stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability and the leading preventable cause of disability.
- More women than men have strokes each year, in part because women live longer.
- Estimates of the overall annual incidence of stroke in U.S. children are 6.4 per 100,000 children (0 to 15 years), with approximately half being hemorrhagic strokes.
- 87% of strokes are classified as ischemic. An ischemic stroke occurs when a clot or a mass blocks a blood vessel, cutting off blood flow to a part of the brain.
- African-Americans are more impacted by stroke than any other racial group within the American population.
Fast is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of a stroke. When you can spot the signs, you’ll know that you need to call 911 for help right away. F.A.S.T. is:
- F – Face Drooping – does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?
- A – Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- S – Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly.
- T – Time – If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 911 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you will know when the first symptoms appeared.
What are transient ischemic attacks (TIA’s) ? TIA’s are often called “mini-strokes.” They are different from the other types of strokes because blood flow to the brain is blocked only for a short period of time – usually no more than 5 minutes.
Why is it important to know about TIA’s? There are several things you need to be aware:
- A TIA is a warning sign of a future stroke.
- A TIA is a medical emergency, just like a major stroke.
- Strokes and TIA’s require emergency care. Call 911 right away if you feel signs of a stroke or see symptoms in someone around you.
- There is no way to know in the beginning whether symptoms are from a TIA or from a major type of stroke.
- Like ischemic strokes, blood clots often cause TIA’s.
- More than a third of people who have a TIA end up having a major stroke within 1 year if they don’t receive treatment, and 10 to 15 percent will have a major stroke within 3 months of a TIA.
If you think you are or someone else is having a stroke, CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY!
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