If someone near you started to show signs of a stroke, would you be able to recognize it? What would be the first thing that you would do? How quickly could you respond to the situation?
“Every second counts when dealing with a stroke,” said Advance ER physician Dr. Alan Dennington. “Every minute means a loss of over a million neurons in the brain which could forever impact speech, vision, balance, memory and more.”
By educating yourself on the signs of a stroke, you may be the first one to see it when it happens and respond appropriately. A stroke victim could be forever grateful for your knowledge and action.
What is a stroke?
A stroke occurs when the blood flow to the brain is interrupted or reduced. When this happens, cells immediately begin to die. This could be caused by trauma, blood clot, hemorrhage, or blocked or narrowed arteries.
“The first thing you need to know about a stroke is that symptoms come on suddenly,” said Dr. Dennington. “That’s why it’s so important to be able to shift gears quickly and identify what’s going on with that person.”
What are the signs of a stroke?
- Confusion – patient may have trouble understanding what is being said and trouble speaking.
- Headache – patient may have a sudden, severe headache.
- Numbness – patient may have numbness or weakness in face, arm or leg. Numbness may be located only on one side of the body and may even manifest as partial paralysis.
- Lack of Coordination – patient may have trouble walking, standing, raising both arms over head and general dizziness.
- Vision – patient may have trouble seeing out of one or both eyes and may have blurred or double vision. Nausea and vomiting can accompany this.
- Weakness – patient may have slight or complete weakness of any part of the body such as the face, or arms and legs.
I’m not sure. How do I know if it’s a stroke?
Try this quick series of tests dealing with the arms and mouth:
- Arms – ask patient to raise both arms. If he can’t raise both all the way, or if one droops, it’s time to call 911.
- Mouth – ask patient to stick out his tongue. If it is crooked, it could be a stroke. Ask him to smile. If it is crooked, it’s time to drive to Advance ER.
- Speech – ask patient to repeat a simple sentence to see if his words are slurred or strange.
What should I do if I think a stroke is happening?
If your friend or loved one is falling down, staggering, slurring his speech, dropping things, complaining of a headache, having trouble seeing or having trouble understanding you, it is likely a critical medical situation.
If you notice any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately or get the patient to the nearest Advance ER. “Ambulances are equipped to be first responders to stroke, and can reduce the damage done by loss of blood to the brain. However, if you’re in the car or on the move, it might be fastest to drive the patient to the nearest Advance ER,” said Dr. Dennington.
What is the treatment for stroke?
“At Advance ER, we will be able to quickly diagnose stroke.” said Dr. Dennington.
Your board-certified Advance ER physician will diagnose the type of stroke using on-site diagnostics such as CT scan, ultrasound, rapid results blood test and/or echocardiogram. Help is available 24/7 with immediate access to a highly-qualified physician experienced in treating emergency medical conditions. “Once we’ve diagnosed the type of stroke, we can proceed with the treatment that’s right for that individual,” said Dr. Dennington.
Check out our “>two convenient locations to find the Advance ER nearest your home, school and work. When minutes count, we’re close by and ready to help. Our doors are always open.
Meet Dr. James Alan Dennington:
James Alan Dennington, M.D., is board-certified in emergency medicine. He received his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwest Medical Center, Dallas, TX. He specializes in emergency medicine including wound care and closure. Dr. Dennington has been providing quality medical care for a decade for patients of all ages.