When someone you love is having a stroke, every second counts. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States.
Over four million Americans who’ve survived a stroke are living with a subsequent disability – and 30% of those affected are permanently disabled.
However, when a stroke is treated quickly, the risk of death, disability, and severe brain damage is greatly reduced.
Familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms of a stroke, and you may be able to save the life of someone you love.
Signs of a stroke
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has identified these five major signs of a stroke, all of which come on suddenly and unexpectedly:
1. Sudden numbness or weakness
This will generally affect the face, arm, or leg, and will often impact one side more than the other.
2. Sudden confusion
This includes difficulty speaking, trouble understanding what others are saying, or an inability to form a cohesive thought.
3. Sudden trouble seeing
Vision can be affected in one or both eyes.
4. Sudden difficulty walking
Dizziness, loss of balance, or lack of coordination can make it hard to walk.
5. Sudden severe headache
Pain will come on quickly and without a known cause.
What to do if someone is having a stroke
A stroke cuts off blood supply to the brain, either through a blockage or a burst blood vessel. Without a blood supply, your brain cells can die. That’s why it’s extremely important to get immediate treatment.
If you suspect your loved one is having a stroke, you must act quickly. Use the FAST acronym to help you remember what to do:
F: Face. Ask them to smile. Does one side of their face droop?
A: Arms. Ask them to raise both of their arms. Does one arm begin to drift downward?
S: Speech. Ask them to repeat a simple sentence. Do they slur or say the wrong thing?
T: Time. If the answer to any of the questions above is “Yes,” you must act quickly and call 911 right away. Also, note the time that the first symptoms began to occur. The medical team will need to know this information to determine the best course of treatment.
Stroke therapy can help prevent long-term disabilities
For stroke survivors, a comprehensive rehabilitation program is the key to regaining independence - and the sooner stroke rehab begins, the better the chances are for a successful recovery. Treatment plans vary based on individual patient needs, but generally include:
Exercises and balance training help stroke patients regain motor skills, coordination, and strength.
By focusing on the patient’s abilities, therapists identify new ways of performing everyday tasks, encouraging independence and self-care.
Patients who have speech problems will relearn communication skills, and if necessary, how to swallow again.
Stroke rehabilitation begins at Bella Vista Health Center in San Diego
With a coveted five-star rating, Bella Vista Health Center is one of the best stroke rehabilitation centers in San Diego.
We offer customized treatment plans with daily therapy from our experienced physical, occupational, and speech therapists, while coordinating care from in-house doctors and nursing staff.
Our goal is to help each of our patients regain their strength and live as independently as possible.
If your loved one has suffered a stroke, call us at (619) 644-1000 to find out more about our stroke rehab program.