40-seconds…the time it takes to check an email, heat up your coffee in the microwave, let your dog outside, stretch, upload a photo to social media, order a meal, and so much more, but did you know every 40 seconds in the United States someone has a stroke? Furthermore, every four minutes, someone dies of a stroke. While the statistics are grim, knowing what to do if you suspect you or someone you love can make a huge difference in the outcome, every second counts when it comes to a stroke.
What is a Stroke?
A stroke happens when the blood flow to your brain is interrupted. If oxygen-rich blood doesn’t reach your brain, brain cells begin to die and permanent brain damage can occur. Depending on severity and how long blood flow was interrupted, a stroke can cause temporary or permanent disability. The sooner you recognize signs of a stroke and seek medical attention, the better your chances of recovering and avoiding serious brain damage or disability. Stroke symptoms can develop slowly over hours or days. Any signs or symptoms of stroke require further investigation by a doctor.
- A feeling of numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg. You might notice it on one side of the body more than the other.
- Vision problems in one or both eyes
- Dizziness or loss of balance
- Difficulty with walking
- Problems with speaking or understanding what other people are saying
- Severe headaches without warning or explanation
Women may experience the same stroke symptoms as men, but they have also reported a few other symptoms that may come on suddenly or unexpectedly.
- Pain in the face or legs
- Feeling weak all over
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid heartbeat
A simple FAST test can help you identify a stroke in yourself and others.
- Face. Ask the person to smile. Look for signs of drooping on one side of the face.
- Arms. Ask the person to raise their arms. Look for a downward drift in one arm.
- Speech. Ask the person to repeat a phrase without slurring. For example, you could have them say “The early bird catches the worm.”
- Time. Waste no time. Immediately call your local emergency services if you or someone you know shows signs of a stroke.
The physicians and staff at Bay Area Family Physicians appreciate the opportunity to provide your medical services. We want to strengthen communication between our office and you, our patients. As specialists in Family Medicine, we focus on primary care needs for patients of all ages – from newborns to the elderly. We diagnose and treat almost all medical conditions. Ideally, your entire family will see the same doctor, allowing both you and your doctor to establish a close, trusting relationship. Contact us today for more information!