Your Healthy Family: Stroke Symptoms - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Your Healthy Family: Stroke Symptoms

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The most important thing you can minimize the effects of a stroke is to call 9-1-1 at the first signs of a possible stroke.  Trouble is, those signs can be very subtle.

The first step in understanding the subtle symptoms of a stroke is to understand in basic terms what a stroke is.  Neurologist Dr. Janice Miller with UCHealth Memorial says “A stroke is caused by a blockage of blood vessels, sometimes we call a stroke a brain attack because just like a heart attack it's caused a blockage of blood vessels, in this case not in the heart muscle but in the brain causing neurological symptoms.".

What are the symptoms of a stroke you need to be aware of?  It all boils down to F-A-S-T.  Dr Miller breaks F-A-S-T down to these easy to remember points.  "F is for face.  If someone has a droopy face you can ask them to smile or bear their teeth and they will have a lack of symmetry in their face.  A stands for arm, the inability to lift the arm or dropping of the arm when it's extended, you can ask them to raise their arm up.  S stands for speech, that can be slurred or no speech at all, or non-sense speech.  T is the most important element, it stands for time to call 911.  We can also add two additional letters, B and E.  B is for balance, the loss of balance the inability to walk or stand, and E is for eyes, a change in vision, or double vision, loss of vision in one eye, or loss of vital field that really cover the major stroke symptoms that people can recognize."

Once you recognize the symptoms Dr. Miller says even if you live close to a hospital you need to call 9-1-1.  "I can guarantee people get faster stroke treatment by calling 911.  Our paramedics, the EMS community are trained to accurately recognize the signs of stroke and direct them to the closest appropriate hospital.".

While some of the symptoms may be subtle, the saying in the medical community is that “time is brain”.  Time is the single most critical factor in treating a stroke.  

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