A stroke is a medical emergency, so if you encounter someone who is suffering from one, call emergency services immediately. And if you want to help, there are a few things you can do in the meantime.
What is a Stroke?
A stroke is when oxygen gets cut off from the brain. Within a few minutes, brain cells begin to die. This can cause permanent brain damage or even death if not treated immediately.
People who have heart and blood pressure conditions, diabetes, or a family history of stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) are at higher risk of experiencing a stroke. People who smoke, do illicit drugs or have unhealthy diets and lack of physical activity are also at increased risk.
The first thing to know is how to tell if a person is having a stroke. Stroke symptoms can appear very quickly. Use the acronym F.A.S.T. to remember signs of a stroke:
- Face — If a person is having a stroke, they will not be able to smile on one side of their face.
- Arms — A person having a stroke will not be able to lift both arms.
- Speech — Difficulty speaking is a key symptom of stroke.
- Time — If any of the above symptoms are present, call 9-1-1. Every minute counts!
If you’re not sure whether the person is suffering from a stroke, call medical services anyway. Don’t take a chance when it comes to strokes!
What to Do
According to St. John’s Ambulance, one of the world’s leaders in first aid training, keep the person having the stroke comfortable and supported while you wait for help to arrive. You should also continuously monitor their breathing, pulse, and how responsive they are to you. However, do not give them food or drink because they will have trouble swallowing and this may choke them.
How about mini-strokes (transient ischemic attacks)?
You may have heard of so-called “mini-strokes,” which are scientifically called transient ischemic attacks or TIAs.
TIA has similar symptoms to a classic stroke (numbness on one side of the body, confusion, loss of coordination, etc.) but they usually go away quickly. This is because blood flow to the brain is only stopped briefly.
However, TIAs should still be treated as medical emergencies because it may be difficult to tell whether you’re dealing with a TIA or stroke. Don’t “wait and see” if it’s really a TIA. Remember, every moment counts when it comes to strokes!
If you’ve experienced a stroke or are at increased risk of having one, there are certain lifestyle changes you can make to prevent your chances of having a future stroke:
- Eat a diet that’s good for your heart. This means a rich, varied diet of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats.
- Get yourself to a healthy weight if you are obese or overweight. Also, incorporate more physical activity into your daily life.
- Remember to take your medicine. If the cost makes taking your prescriptions stressful, you can find preventive medications like ELIQUIS (apixaban) right here at Canada Med Stop at substantially lower prices than your local pharmacy.
- Quit smoking. This is one of the best things you can do for your body in general, not just to prevent strokes!
- Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check. To do this, visit your doctor regularly if your levels are abnormal to keep track of how you’re doing. Adjusting your diet and lifestyle will also help.
- Learn ways to manage stress. This will not only prevent strokes but will give you a better quality of life. So find things to do that make you feel good — it’s not just fun but good for you.
Take care of your heart. Prevent a bad stroke of luck.
Since stroke is a problem of the circulatory system, you can focus on taking care of your heart to prevent a stroke. At the same time, know and understand the signs of one so if you encounter someone with a stroke, you can get them the help they need.
The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.