Saturday, July 30, 2011

stroke signs and other info

Even though I have some medical background there's a lot I don't know about stroke symptoms and temporary loss of function that may occur before a stroke or Transient ischemic attack (TIA, aka mini-stroke).  So I have done some research and wanted to share what I have found with you.  I won't lie to you and say it's easy to remember all of this info while your loved one is in the middle of having these symptoms, that's why I'm keeping copies in my purse and on my fridge at home.  I'm going to have to over-rule my husband's wishes/decision about if 911 should be called next time.  I'll also warn you that your loved one may not tell you about all of their symptoms such as severe headache when it happens because they don't want to go to the hospital or worry you.  That's something we are working on.

Temporary Loss of Function
  • numbness, loss of all feeling, or inability to move part or all of one side of the body
  • confusion or altered behavior, such as the inability to fully rouse a person from sleep, or unusually aggressive or combative behavior
  • sudden dimness, blurring, loss of vision in one or both eyes, or double vision
  • inability to speak, difficulty speaking, or difficulty understanding speech
  • inability to or difficulty walking or standing
  • headache, which is severe and in a specific area, without another apparent cause
  • dizziness or loss of balance with nausea or vomiting
  • fainting or loss of consciousness
Stroke Symptoms
  • sudden numbness, tingling, weakness, or paralysis in your face, arm, or leg, especially on only one side of your body
  • sudden vision changes
  • sudden trouble speaking
  • sudden confusion or trouble understanding simple statements
  • sudden problems with walking or balance
  • a sudden, severe headache that is differenct from past headaches
Hemorrhagic Stroke
symptoms are the same as those listed above, but you may have other symptoms
  • severe headache, sometimes in a pecific area
  • nausea and vomiting
  • neck stiffness
  • dizziness, seizures, or changes in mental state, such as irritability, confusion, and possibly unconsciousness
"If you think someone may be having a stroke, use the simple acronym F.A.S.T.: Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward? Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Are the words slurred? Can he or she repeat the sentence correctly?  Time: If the person shows any of these symptoms, time is important. Call 9-1-1. Note the time you experienced your first symptom. This information is important to your health care provider and can affect treatment decisions."

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