Is It a Stroke?
The following may be signs and symptoms of a stroke. These symptoms require immediate attention. Call 9-1-1, or seek emergency medical care. Don't wait.
- One side of the face droops or feels numb.
- One arm is weak or numb.
- One side of the body is numb.
- Speech may be slurred.
- Trouble speaking. Person may be unable to talk or hard to understand.
- Person is unable to repeat words or a simply sentence.
- Loss of balance, dizziness.
- Sudden headache that is very severe.
- Trouble seeing out of one or both eyes.
Get Help FAST
The American Stroke Association recommends using the following word to identify signs: FAST:
F: Face drooping
A: Arm weakness
S: Speaking is difficult
T: Time to call 9-1-1
Tests Done in the Emergency Room
Getting immediate care is important after a stroke. Early treatment is important for outcomes. It is important to call 9-1-1, and seek emergency help for a person who may have just had a stroke. The following tests will be done in the emergency room to diagnose a stroke:
- CT Scan
- Blood tests
The following tests may be done later
- Carotid ultrasound
- CT angiogram
- Carotid angiogram
Immediate Treatment Is Essential
If you are having any stroke symptoms, get to a hospital. The best treatment for a stroke is to stop it while it is happening. Doctors will need to dissolve the blood clot or stop the bleeding. To prevent a stroke, you may be prescribed blood thinners as a drug therapy.
The patient may receive a clot-busting drug called tPA right after a stroke. The medicine would be given to the patient in the emergency room in the hours after a stroke. Patients also may be given aspirin or other drugs if tPA is not the best option. The clot also may be removed from the artery. A device called a stent or a suction cup is used to remove it. Additional treatment depends on the cause of the stroke.
Stroke rehabilitation and stroke therapy
Stroke rehab and stroke therapy help patients recover from stroke damage. Stroke rehabilitation focuses on helping people overcome the problems caused by a stroke. Patients often can get stroke therapy services close to home, so there is no need to travel far during stroke recovery.
Know the Stroke Risk Factors
Patients cannot change some stroke risk factors, such as age and family history. But there are lifestyle changes that can lower your stroke risk. The following are stroke risk factors:
Older adults have a higher risk
Family history of heart disease or sickle cell disease
Being African American, Native American or Alaskan Native
Having a previous stroke, TIA or heart attack
Smoking or secondhand smoke
High blood pressure
Drug or alcohol misuse or abuse
To reduce your stroke risk, your health care provider may talk to you about making lifestyle changes and also give you resources to help.