Strokes are very common, one of the top 3 leading causes of death in Canada. However, strokes are preventable. Up to 80% of strokes can be prevented, which makes it the leading cause of preventable disability.
Yet, it causes devastating impacts every year due to our lack of knowledge on identifying and preventing strokes.
When the blood flow to a part of your brain is blocked or reduced, brain tissue is deprived of oxygen and nutrients, resulting in a stroke. The brain cells begin to die within minutes.
So how do you identify stroke in time?
Check for the most common signs of a stroke in yourself or someone else using the FAST test. FAST stands for Face, Arms, Speech & Time.
- Face: Ask the person to smile and see if a side of the face drop or if they feel numbness in any part of the face.
- Arms: Ask them to raise both arms. Check if they can properly raise both arms or one arm drops down.
- Speech: Ask them anything. Notice their speech. Check for slurred or strange speech.
- Time: If any of the above shows any unusual result, call 911 right away. Let the operator know when the symptoms started.
Calling a doctor or driving to the hospital wastes time. Every second matters in treating strokes. EMT or Ambulance personnel can assess your situation more quickly, increasing your chances of receiving the care you require as soon as possible. Depending on the type of stroke you have, your doctor may prescribe potent clot-busting medications. If a burst blood vessel caused your stroke, doctors will try to stop the bleeding as soon as possible.
Some strokes occur over time. You may not have symptoms right away. If you have numbness in your face, arm, leg, or one side of your body, difficulty speaking even if you have never had problems speaking before, trouble seeing both eyes, frequent dizziness, or any other similar symptoms, call the closest emergency care right away.