Monday, November 12, 2007

Time is not your friend if you're having a stroke

Strokes are life changing events, whether they result in long-lasting effects or complete recovery. The very idea that something went wrong in the brain can have a profound impact on realizing one's mortality.

We’ve often heard a lot about mini-strokes or TIAs, but what are they? TIA is short for transient ischemic attack. Ischemia is the state where there is not enough blood – and its nutrients – to body tissue, usually caused by a blockage or obstruction. A TIA occurs when there is a section of the brain tissue that is deprived of this blood for a short period of time. In other words, it’s a stroke that lasts a few minutes or a bit longer.

So, how can you tell whether you’re having a stroke or experiencing a TIA? You can’t. If you have the symptoms of a stroke, even if you have a history of TIAs, do NOT wait and see if it will resolve on its own. If you wait and it is a true stroke, you are robbing yourself of valuable treatment time. Strokes need to be treated as soon as possible to minimize the damage. Time is not your friend in this situation.

The following information was taken directly from a patient fact sheet, Stroke Facts, found at the National Stroke Association.

How can you tell if you or someone you know is having a stroke or TIA? Think FAST:

F= Face – ask the person to smile. Check to see if both sides of the face are moving the same way, or does one side droop?

A= Arms – as the person to raise both arms in front of them. Does on arm seem to drift downwards while the other one stays outstretched?

S= Speech – Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Does the sentence make sense? Was it repeated properly? Is the speech slurred or garbled?

T= Time – if any of those signs are present or you suspect them, call 9-1-1 or seek help immediately.

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2 comments:

Terrie Farley Moran said...

Marijke,

Thanks, as always, for some great information.

Terrie

Marijke Durning said...

:-) I'm so glad that some people find it helpful.