How to recognise warning signs of a stroke
- Stroke shouldn’t be treated at home and there is no first-aid that can help a stroke patient recover. Here's how to recognise signs of a stroke.
Stroke typically occurs when blood supply to the brain is interrupted or reduced, preventing necessary oxygen and nutrients supply. Stroke patients are at highest risk of death in the first weeks after the event, and between 20% to 50% die within the first month depending on type, severity, age, comorbidity and effectiveness of treatment of complications. Patients who survive may be left with no disability or with mild, moderate or severe disability, according to a report by World Health Organization (WHO).
There are many lifestyle as well as biological factors that could increase your chances of getting a stroke. But it is possible to reduce the risk by managing certain health conditions like blood pressure, cardiac diseases, diabetes, cholesterol, obesity, refraining from tobacco, staying away from alcohol and reducing stress. Regular exercise and balanced diet could also help.
"Stroke is a leading cause of mortality and morbidity and time plays a crucial role in the management of stroke, particularly the Ischemic Stroke which accounts for majority (approx 85%) of the strokes. For each minute lost without treatment, 1.9 million neurons are destroyed and for each hour lost without treatment brain ages by 3.6 years. Therefore it is important to recognize the symptoms of stroke and whenever there’s suspicion, patient should be rushed immediately to a stroke ready hospital - where there are facilities for acute stroke management, says Dr Prashant Makhija, Consultant Neurologist, Wockhardt Hospital.
Stroke shouldn’t be treated at home and there is no first-aid that can help a stroke patient recover. Once you recognise a stroke, you should immediately rush to a stroke ready hospital for prompt treatment and optimum recovery, says Dr Pradyumna Oak, Director, Neurology and Head of Stroke Unit, Nanavati Max Super Speciality Hospital.
Symptoms of Stroke
Stroke symptoms can be recognized by the acronym ‘BEFAST'. Here's how to recognise early symptoms of stroke, according to Dr. Makhija and Dr Oak:
B – Imbalance while walking
Stroke may affect areas that control balance in the brain. You may feel dizzy or lose your balance.
E- Vision problem
As many as two-thirds of stroke victims may experience vision impairments as a result of a stroke.
F- Facial asymmetry or weakness
The person who's suspected of a stroke should be asked to smile. If one side of the face droops, then he/she must be rushed to a stroke-ready hospital.
A – Arm/leg weakness
If a person's arm is drifting downward when asked to raise it, it is a sign of a stroke
S- Slurring of speech
If a person is not able to speak properly or the speech is slurred, this is another sign of a stroke.
T- Time to rush the patient to the nearest stroke ready hospital
Time is of essence in cases of stroke. Timely management of patient can not only be life saving but also prevent the patient from developing permanent deficits.