What is a stroke?

A stroke can simply be explained as a brain attack. It occurs when the blood supply to any part of the brain is cut off. We all know that blood through blood vessels, is the carrier to supply oxygen and nutrition to the brain. So, when there is no blood supply to a part of the brain, the brain cells in that part begin to die. Consequently, abilities controlled by that part of the brain are also lost.

A stroke can happen to anyone at anytime. If you see someone having a stroke or you find yourself having any symptoms of a stroke, it is a case of medical emergency. Time is of the essence. If correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment are given within 3 hours of the first symptom of stroke, there is a good chance of making a full recovery.Therefore, every moment is precious.

In order to be prepared, awareness of the right information is key.

The symptoms you need to watch out for can easily be remembered with the help of an acronym ‘FAST’:

  • Face – is your face numb or drooping on one side?
  • Arms – is one arm weaker than the other? Does it feel numb? When you lift both arms, does one arm stay lower than the other?
  • Speech – is your speech slurred or unclear?
  • Time – it is time to call for medical help if you observe these symptoms in yourself or anyone else

Other signs of stroke may include:

  • Numbness or tingling sensation on one side of the body
  • Dizziness or disorientation
  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision
  • Severe headaches
  • Confusion and memory loss

What should you do in case you see these symptoms?

Step 1: After using the ‘FAST’ guide, call the emergency number for an ambulance- 103 or108.

Step 2: Check if the person suffering from a stroke is conscious or unconscious. If unconscious, move them onto one of their sides. If he is conscious, then help the patient to a position that he feels comfortable in.

Step 3: Keep the patient warm and do not give them anything to eat or drink as it may be hard for him to swallow and will choke on the food or water Also ensure that there his/her tongue is not rolled back leading to blockage of air supply

Step 4: Observe or watch the patient very carefully for any changes in his condition. Also, note the time of the stroke to inform the doctors.

It can be very alarming and distressing for the person suffering from a stroke especially if there is slurring of speech and memory loss. Reassure him that help is on the way and keep him calm.

Even if the symptoms of stroke are subtle and go away immediately, call the emergency number for medical attention. It is better to be safe than sorry.