Hearing the word stroke scares the hell out of some people. But do we know what exactly happens when stroke strikes?
A stroke is a condition where a blood clot or ruptured artery or blood vessel interrupts blood flow to an area of the brain. The lack of oxygen and glucose (sugar) flowing to the brain will lead to the death of brain cells and brain damage, that often results to impairment in speech, movement, and memory.
Smaller strokes may result in minor problems, such as weakness in an arm or leg. Many stroke patients are left with weakness on one side of the body, difficulty speaking, incontinence, and bladder problems. Stroke victims have lived with its lingering effects but have continued to live normal lives, like Dick Clark who suffered stroke in 2004 and had slurred speech and partial paralysis but still continued appearing on his shows until his death last April.
Larger strokes may lead to paralysis or death, like in the cases of Patrice O’Neal and Mary Kay Ash.
There are some, though, who have successfully recovered after debilitating attacks of strokes. Kirk Douglas suffered a stroke that affected his speech in 1996 which later on led to depression. He recovered a few years after and wrote a book on his experiences titled, “My Stroke of Luck.”
Although men are generally in high risk for stroke, women, too, are not spared. In 2001, Stone Stone suffered a stroke that left her partially paralyzed with a speech impediment. She successfully recovered and went on to appear appear in a physically demanding role in the movie “Catwoman” just three years later.
Early detection can make a lot of difference. It would be very helpful if we know how to identify the signs of a stroke because we might be able to save lives. A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke…completely. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough.
The outcome after a stroke depends on where the stroke occurs and how much of the brain is affected. The earlier it is detected, the lesser the damage would be. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke. I’ve heard and read of cases wherein stroke victims do not even know they’re having an attack, and they end up dead after a few hours.
The most likely candidates for stroke , but not limited to, are those with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smokers, diabetes and people over 55.
To identify the signs of stroke, just remember its first three letters. S. T. R. Even doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:
S *Ask the individual to SMILE.
T *Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE ( It should be coherent.)
R *Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.
If he or she has trouble with any one of these tasks, call the paramedics immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.
Another way to determine stroke is this – Ask the person to ‘stick’ out his tongue. If the tongue is ‘crooked’, if it goes to one side or the other, that is also an indication of a stroke.
The lack of awareness spells disaster but knowing just a few basics makes a lot of difference.