This wasn’t what I was planning to post about today, but I got into the office this morning to find out that one of my coworker’s husband died last night. Last week he called her at work to say he wasn’t feeling right. They took him to our local hospital’s ER where he was diagnosed with vertigo and sent home over the weekend. Tuesday, they went north to the bigger, better hospital where he was correctly diagnosed. He’d been having a stroke the whole time. Strokes are survivable ONLY if the correct medications are administered AS SOON AS POSSIBLE–not four to five days later. So I felt compelled to post a PSA about stroke symptoms. Know them. And if you think you may be having one and a doctor says otherwise, get an IMMEDIATE second opinion!
From the National Stroke Association:
Use FAST to remember the warning signs:
FACE:Ask the person to smile.
Does one side of the face droop?
Ask the person to raise both arms.
Does one arm drift downward?
Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase.
Is their speech slurred or strange?
If you observe any of these signs,
call 9-1-1 immediately.
NOTE THE TIME WHEN ANY SYMPTOMS FIRST APPEAR. If given within three hours of the first symptom, there is an FDA-approved clot-buster medication that may reduce long-term disability for the most common type of stroke. There are also two other types of stroke treatment available that might help reduce the effects of stroke. Read more about stroke treatment.
Learn as many stroke symptoms as possible so you can recognize stroke as FAST as possible. Click here to download the FAST Wallet Card to keep a reminder of stroke warning signs with you wherever you go!
Stroke symptoms include:
- SUDDEN numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg – especially on one side of the body.
- SUDDEN confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
- SUDDEN trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
- SUDDEN trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
- SUDDEN severe headache with no known cause.
Call 9-1-1 immediately if you have any of these symptoms
Note the time you experienced your first symptom.
This information is important to your healthcare provider and can affect treatment decisions.
As a stroke survivor, I can tell you that getting medical attention quickly is most important. Thanks to my beloved, I was at the hospital within twenty minutes (it’s not that far) when I had mine. Even if you don’t experience symptoms, if you think you are having a stroke, get to the hospital.
This is really scary. My husband has had two mini strokes (TIA), both in April a year apart. It’s been over two years since he had the last one. The first one happened while he was at work. The second one happened in the wee hours of the morning. I knew something wasn’t right when he was mumbling in his sleep. I got up and found he couldn’t use the left side of his body. I made him swallow some aspirin (I don’t know if that was the right thing to give him, but a nurse told me it was) and called 911. He regained use of his left side while being transported by helicopter to the best stroke hospital in our area. The worst part is that people who have TIA’s are at greater risk for full strokes. This is nothing to dawdle about with if it happens…like Kait said, get help immediately. If my step-mother had gotten the medicine she needed when she had a stroke (it was the middle of the night and my dad didn’t know), the doctor said she probably wouldn’t have been paralyzed on one side. THANK YOU, Kait, for this post. I’m so sorry about your co-worker’s husband. 🙁
Allow me to add this important tidbit, as this is incredibly important. 911 will ask you questions. As a 911 dispatcher, I can assure you that those questions are incredibly valuable when answered. We don’t ask them to pass the time. We ask them to give the emergency responders the most information to help them make the crucial decisions that can save a life. Calling us and yelling at us to “just get someone here, hurry!” helps no one. We KNOW how to do our job. We continually train for it. Leave that part up to us, so that we can have you doing everything you can to save that persons life. It may not seem as important, but it is just as much so in an emergency situation. Time saves lives plain and simple.
I’m coming to this a little late, but I would add “don’t assume that a person is too young to have a stroke.” My husband had one when he was 24. He got help in time and the after effects are minimal (a tiny bit of numbness in two fingers and his left cheek), but if anyone had hesitated, it could have been fatal.