Stroke is a serious life-threatening condition and is the third leading cause of death in Canada. Nearly three-quarters of all strokes occur in people older than 65 and the risk of a stroke more than doubles each decade between ages 55 and 85.
Every minute counts during a stroke. Identifying the symptoms of stroke and getting immediate help can reduce the risk of lasting brain damage or even death. If you're caring for a senior it's vital that you learn how to recognize the symptoms of stroke.
Symptoms of a stroke include
- Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arms, or legs (especially on one side of the body), confusion, trouble speaking or difficulty understanding speech
- Loss of vision in one or both eyes
- Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or lack of coordination
- Severe headache with no known cause
To recognize and verify these symptoms, use this process that is commonly abbreviated as FAST
Face: Ask your loved one to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
Arms: Ask your loved one to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Speech: Ask your loved one to repeat a simple phrase. Is the speech slurred or strange?
Time: If your loved one shows any of the above signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.
Don't Ignore "Mini-Strokes"
Sometimes the warning signs of a stroke may disappear after only a few moments. These brief episodes, known as transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), are sometimes called "mini-strokes."
Although brief, TIAs point to a serious underlying condition in need of medical attention. While these episodes are fleeting, paying heed to them could save a life.
Evergreen provides home care and nursing services in the Greater Vancouver area. Learn about our services for stroke recovery patients, or contact us with any questions you may have.