Firstly, if you suspect someone is having a stroke, immediately call 999 for an ambulance.
What is a stroke?
A stroke is a very serious condition where the brains supply of oxygen has been cut off which can very quickly cause the death of brain cells in the affected area. There are two types of stroke
- A blood clot is blocking the brains supply of oxygen. (Most common)
- A blood vessel which supplies oxygen to the brain has become weakened and burst.
Even if the attack appears to stop and the symptoms disappear while you wait for help, it is still extremely important to get immediate medical assistance as the person could have had a transient ischaemic attack (TIA) which is a “mini stroke” and often means that a more serious attack, or another TIA could happen in the near future.
Immediate treatment is very important as it can increase the chance a person will make a full recovery and reduce the damage to their brain.
How to recognise a stroke
The symptoms of a stroke can differ from person to person but will most likely begin very suddenly.
You can recognise a stroke using FAST:
Face – Has their face dropped on one side? Check to see is they are able to smile or if an eye has drooped.
Arms – People who have had a stroke may not be able to keep both arms in the air due to weakness or numbness in one arm.
Speech – Can the person speak? Has their voice become slurred or odd sounding. Check to see if they can understand what you are saying.
Time – It’s definitely time to call 999 is you notice a person has failed even one of these tests. Time is of the essence, do not delay.
Who is at risk?
The people who are most at risk of a stroke are over the age of 55 but they can happen at any age.
High blood pressure is a cause in over half of strokes.
People with diabetes can be at risk as it can cause blood vessels to be clogged, which can lead to a stroke.
Smoking, binge drinking and drug use drastically increase risk of stroke.
Steps to help prevent a stroke
The best thing you can do is contact your GP for a check-up; they will be able to tell you if you have any health issues which could increase the risk of a stroke. Common things your GP can look into are high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, and irregular heartbeat. They will advise you on steps to try and improve your general health to try and decrease the risk.
By the age of 75, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 6 men will have a stroke.
Stroke occurs roughly 152,000 times per year in the United Kingdom; or 3 minutes 27 seconds.
For more information visit the Stroke Association at stroke.org.uk.
If you are looking for expert help and knowledge on supporting stroke sufferers in the wider Bromley area then River Garden Care can help. Contact us on 020 8228 1118 for a no obligation chat about your care needs.
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