It’s been said that the human brain has 100 billion neurons, each neuron connected to 10 thousand other neurons. Sitting on your shoulders is the most complicated object in the known universe.
Stroke is another common brain trauma — one that can be fatal. Every 45 seconds another American has a stroke. Every year more than a quarter million people are left with a disability after suffering a stroke.
A stroke happens when the blood flow to the brain stops. Then brain cells quickly start dying. Stroke damage to the brain can cause problems throughout the body. Stroke can result in problems speaking, swallowing, moving and remembering things. Stroke can also cause emotional problems for the patient.
There are two ways a stroke or blood stoppage can happen:
If the blood clot forms in the brain, this is a thrombotic stroke. If the clot forms elsewhere in the body and travels through the bloodstream to the brain, it’s known as an embolic stroke.
It’s important for adults in your family to understand the signs of a stroke and what to do if they’re noticed. You may notice them in someone else or yourself.
Effective treatment is available, but time is essential. We can’t over stress the importance of timely response to a possible stroke.
To remember symptoms of a stroke, think B.E.F.A.S.T. Every second counts.
|B = Balance||Does the person have a sudden loss of balance?|
|E = Eyes||Does the person have trouble seeing out of one or both eyes?|
|F = Face||Can the person smile? Does one side of the face sag or droop?|
|A = Arms||Can the person raise both arms? Or does one arm drift downward?|
|S = Speech||Is the person’s speech slurred or strange sounding? Can the person repeat a single sentence?|
|T = Terrible Headache||Does the person have a severe, painful, or throbbing headache?|
In addition to these tests, take note if the person has trouble with:
If you notice these symptoms, safely get the person to the nearest hospital or Primary Stroke Center immediately.
If you have more than one hospital near your home or work, it’s a great idea to know what services the hospitals specialize in and which are in your insurance company’s provider network. During an emergency, like a stroke, is not the time to figure out where it’s best for you to go.
Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability in the U.S. The goal of treatment is to help patients overcome any disabilities that result. A number of health care professionals will likely be involved in therapies, which can include:
In some cases surgery may be appropriate to reduce a patient’s risk or to treat stroke. A health care professional can review all the appropriate treatment options with each patient.
As with many health conditions, the best treatment for stroke is prevention. You can reduce your risk of stroke by controlling these risk factors:
Your health care professional can help you plan how to control your risks and can explain other risks you may have such as:
We can’t control the last group of risks, but addressing the risks you can control can reduce your risks for stroke.
Early stroke diagnosis and treatment can reduce brain damage associated with stroke and help people return to their normal activities sooner and with fewer long-term effects.