Strokes…silent, subtle, often debilitating, and even deadly. Strokes occur when blood flow to the brain is interrupted causing brain cells to die. A blood vessel may be totally blocked by a blood clot which may be as small as a pin head. A vessel in the brain may rupture or leak releasing blood into the brain tissue or a clot may temporarily block blood flow. This last situation is called a mini-stroke or TIA. Temporary or permanent brain damage can result from strokes. In 1998, Dr. James Dobson’s wife was credited with saving her husband’s life because she realized the odd behaviors he was displaying were signs of a stroke. Would you know a stroke if you saw one?
There are 5 major signs that should alert an onlooker to the possibility of a stroke in process. These include: 1. Weakness, numbness, or paralysis of the face, arm, or leg. 2. Sudden blurred or interrupted vision in one or both eyes. 3. The onset of speech difficulties or trouble comprehending simple statements 4. Dizziness, loss of balance or coordination – this one is extremely serious 5. A headache that seems to be the worst one ever!
Time is of the essence when dealing with strokes. An observer needs to act responsibly and quickly when stoke symptoms present themselves. If caught within 3 hours of onset, the application of a relatively new medicine, t-PA (Tissue Plasminogen Activator) which is an enzyme that helps dissolve clots, can greatly reduce damage resulting from a stroke.
If you suspect someone is having or may have just had a stroke, here are 5 “tests” to give them to better assess the situation. Using the acronym F.A.S. T. will help you remember what to do.
1. Ask the person to smile then watch to see if one side of the mouth droops. (Face)
2. Ask the person to lift both arms and watch for one arm that may drift downward. (Arms)
3. Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase and determine whether their speech is slurred or odd in any way. (Speech)
4. Ask the person to stick out their tongue. Does it pull to one side or the other? (Tongue)
If you notice any of the above symptoms, call 911 immediately. Time is of the essence!
In Psalm 46:1 and Psalm 86:6-7, David informs us that God is on our side and will help us in our time of trouble. Don’t hesitate to call on Jesus to help you and the stroke victim when you see a stroke in progress.
Content source: Mayoclinic.org/stroke
Photo credit: A Health Blog