Stroke is one of the commonest occurring a diseases. Someone in the world develops a stroke every 40 seconds. Therefore, it is essential for everyone to know how to recognize a stroke. Especially since now we have a medicine that improves the outcome of the stroke. But the administration of the medicine has to be within the first three hours since the onset of stroke. Therefore recognizing the syndrome and getting to a hospital within that time frame is essential.
Therefore a quicker response to stroke is essential for a better treatment and thereby a reduced morbidity and mortality.
Stroke happens when the brain is either not getting enough blood supply, or when there has been a bleeding inside the brain due to a ruptured blood vessel. The damage and the symptoms may be temporary and recover quickly, or they may be long term and develop and persist over a period of time.
Stroke may develop acutely or in a staggered pattern depending on whether it is developing secondary to a bleed, a thrombus or an emboli. The symptoms may affect the sensorium, the senses, the power or more delicate functions like speech and vision.
Warning Signs of Stroke:
Few of the symptoms and warning signs that one can look for are:
Weakness of a side of the body, including arms, legs and face, more commonly known as paralysis.
The weakness may be associated with tingling, numbness or sensory loss in the affected area. In few cases these sensory symptoms may happen without a paralysis.
Speech and vision may be affected. The patient cannot talk properly, or may not at all understand what is being said to them. Similarly they may not be able to see on one side, more commonly the affected side.
Sometimes the patient has a good power, but they are not well coordinated. The balance of the patient might be lost.
Sometimes all that the patients may complain of vertigo. Therefore, it is important for the doctor to know the other associated features one may have noted along with the dizziness, to rule out associated conditions.
Headache may be an associated feature. It is more commonly a feature of bleeding (with or without vomiting and/or loss of consciousness).
What to Do if Someone Develops a Stroke?
Remember that a stroke, or brain attack is a medical emergency.
You need to make sure that you do not ignore the symptoms.
Many times the signs and symptoms are neglected and attributed to other associated disease like diabetes or hypertension, or more frequently, age.
Remember, this is an emergency and every minute you delay counts.
Take the patient to the hospital immediately.
Make sure you know the time when the symptoms started. The doctor needs to know that.
Call an ambulance and rush to the hospital.
If you have the means to travel, do no wait for the two way journey time.
Get to the closest health care centre as soon as possible instead of trying to rush to a more distant prominent centre.