Stroke, also known as CVA (Cerebrovascular Accident), occurs when blood supply to your brain is interrupted or reduced. It is a medical emergency which affects over 1 million people in India per year. In fact, stroke has been reported to be the fourth biggest cause of death in India after heart disease, COPD and Diarrhoea. This means that you are more likely to die of a stroke than a plane crash in India!
What else makes this disease more dangerous? The disability caused by a brain attack is often higher as it may cause partial or complete paralysis. The age group affected the most is 60+ years, however a rising incidence of stroke has recently been reported in the younger working population in India due to smoking, high alcohol intake, poor dietary habits and stress.
Emphasis has to be laid on timely medical care in case of a stroke as delay in the right medical treatment generally leads to fatality.
Unfortunately, maximum people are not aware about how to recognize the symptoms of stroke and hence, they fail to getting early access to the right care.
Steps to recognize Stroke symptoms
The first hour after the stroke is considered to be the ‘Golden Hour’ by doctors because it is in this hour when a medical treatment can minimize brain damage and that is only possible if you are able to recognize the symptoms correctly.
Following are the steps to recognize the symptoms of a stroke:
Sudden numbness of face, arm or leg
Many patients who have stroke develop droopiness on one side of the face. One side of the face may also become numb and if you ask them to smile, it’s not symmetrical. There is sudden weakness of the face, arm or leg; especially on one side of the body.
Sudden confusion or trouble while speaking
It may become difficult for the patient to speak or understand as certain areas of the brain are affected due to lack of blood supply. The person sometimes may slur his/her words or speak in garbled noises. Try your best to calm the patient after you have called a helpline number for medical emergency treatment.
Look for trouble in vision in one or both eyes
Ask the patient if he cannot see or is seeing double (ask the patient to nod if he is unable to speak). Strokes can affect vision in a number of ways, including decreased vision and double vision.
Loss of balance or coordination
You may notice that the person is having trouble walking and is feeling dizzy. This happens due to weakness in arms and legs. Muscle weakness can make it difficult to do things steadily.
Sudden and severe headache
The patient may experience a sudden headache with no known cause. It may be difficult to distinguish a stroke headache from a regular headache or migraine headache. So, if you suspect a stroke, always take a doctor’s help to get the right treatment.
Tips to minimize brain damage
Memorize the acronym F.A.S.T – Face, Arms, Speech and Time. This will help you check for key stroke symptoms and get timely medical help.
Face – Ask the person to smile. Is one side of the face drooping? Does the smile look uneven?
Arms – Ask the person to raise both arms. Is he having trouble in doing so? Does one arm drift downward?
Speech – Ask the person to say a short sentence. Is the person slurring speech? Does he seem confused?
Time – Immediately call for emergency medical help if you see above symptoms as all of these symptoms are strong indicators of stroke.
If an ambulance is taking time to arrive, try to get a Doctor at home to give the patient first aid by the time an ambulance arrives.
In such a scenario, you can call MUrgency to send the nearest ambulance or Doctor to you to get access to professional medical help in time.
- Note the time that you first notice symptoms in order to help the medical staff accurately determine the course of treatment.
- Do not delay the treatment once you suspect the person is having a stroke.
- It is not advised to carry the patient in a car or any other regular vehicle in case of a medical emergency. Call an ambulance or try to get an emergency Doctor to make sure the right medical care is provided.
Avoid panicking in such situations. Remember that the key to handle medical emergencies best is by being prepared for it. Save MUrgency’s 24/7 helpline number +91 91118 91118 and get fast, easy and reliable medical care.