A STROKE, sometimes called a Brain Attack, happens in 1 of 2 ways: when something blocks blood supply to a part of the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. In either case, parts of the brain become damaged or die. A stroke can cause lasting brain damage, long-term disability or even death.
The brain controls our movements, stores our memories, and is the source of our thoughts, emotions, and language. The brain also controls many functions, like breathing & digestion.
To work properly, your brain needs oxygen. Your arteries deliver oxygen-rich blood to all parts of your brain. If something happens to block the flow of blood, brain cells start to die within minutes, because they can’t get oxygen. This causes a stroke. The signs of a stroke are related to the part of the brain that is affected by the stroke.
The stroke treatments that work the best, like clot-busting drugs, are available only if the stroke is recognized & diagnosed within 3 hours of the 1st symptoms. Stroke patients may not be eligible for these if they don’t arrive at the hospital in time.
If you think someone may be having a stroke, act F.A.S.T. & do the following test:
F FACE: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does 1 arm drift downward?
S SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is the speech slurred or strange?
T TIME: If you see any of these signs, call 9-1-1- right away
Note the time when any symptoms first appear. This is important for health care providers to determine the best treatment for each person.
DO NOT let the person drive to the hospital. Call 9-1-1 for an ambulance so that medical personnel can begin life-saving treatment on the way to the Emergency Room.
A Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA or ‘mini-stroke’) is when the stroke signs/symptoms go away in a few minutes. This should NOT be ignored, as though brief, a TIA is a serious condition that will not go away without treatment.
Unfortunately, because TIA’s clear up, many people ignore them. But, paying attention to a TIA can save your life. If you think you or someone you know has had a TIA, tell a health care team about the symptoms right away.