A stroke is the interruption of blood flow to the brain, preventing oxygen and nutrients from reaching the brain and causing cells to die. According to the American Stroke Association (ASA), stroke is the #5 cause of death in the United States and is a leading cause of disability. Fast reaction to the first signs of a stroke can make not only the difference between life and death but can determine the amount of disability suffered from the event. The physicians at Medco ER & Urgent Care have compiled the information you need to know to quickly and properly respond to signs of a stroke.
“A stroke usually has noticeable symptoms,” said Medco ER & Urgent Care’s Regional Medical Director, Dr. Tariq Vora. “If you educate yourself and know what to look for, you can respond fast and call 911. EMS and emergency rooms are both set up with a stroke protocol to begin treatment as soon as possible.”
Signs of a Stroke
The 3 classic signs of a stroke can be remembered with the acronym F.A.S.T.
F – Face – one side of the face or mouth is drooping
A – Arms – ask him/her to raise both arms and see if one arm drifts down or is weak
S – Speech – stroke victims will have slurred speech or difficulty talking
T – Time – act quickly and call 911
In addition to these 3 classic signs of a stroke, the patient may experience the sudden onset of other symptoms. The important thing to note is these symptoms will come on suddenly. Here is the list of additional symptoms, according to ASA:
- Numbness – weakness or numbness of face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Confusion – confusion, difficulty speaking or understanding speech
- Trouble seeing – vision problem in one or both eyes
- Trouble walking – dizziness, loss of coordination and balance
- Severe headache – sudden headache
Risk Facts for Stroke
Factors such as age, race, gender and family history may contribute to your risk of stroke, however many risk factors can be changed or controlled. Some of these factors include a chronic medical condition, overweight, diet rich in fats, smoking or sedentary lifestyle. These factors can contribute to the risk of stroke:
- Heart disease
- Atrial fibrillation
- Peripheral artery disease
- Carotid artery disease
- High blood cholesterol
- Inactive lifestyle
- Diet high in saturated fats, cholesterol, sodium
- High blood pressure
- Sickle cell anemia
Emergency Care Needed
“A stroke is an emergency and must be treated immediately,” said Dr. Vora. “Call 911 rather than drive the person to the ER since the EMS is equipped to begin treatment on a stroke immediately.”
Time is of utmost importance when it comes to a serious condition such as a stroke.
Kinds of Stroke
There are two main types of strokes:
- Hemorrhagic: Caused by bleeding in the brain; occurs about 20% of the time.
- Ischemic: Caused by a blood clot in the brain; more common, occurs about 80% of the time.
In the emergency setting, it is crucial to find out what type of stroke a person is experiencing. This could be quickly determined by a CT scan of the head.
At Medco ER, we are equipped with advanced imaging equipment and can perform the CT scan in less than 30 minutes from arrival. We also have close contacts with expert Radiologists who can provide a quick assessment of the CT images.
Furthermore, we are affiliated with local hospitals and specialized stroke centers and can quickly reach a Neurologist for an expert opinion to discuss the various types of treatment in a timely fashion.
Find help at Medco ER & Urgent Care
Patients suffering symptoms of a stroke can find fast access to quality medical care at Medco ER & Urgent Care. Our board-certified physicians have the years of experience needed to quickly identify and treat strokes. Our easy-access, freestanding ER has much of the same equipment found in a hospital-attached ER and we are fully ready to treat you 24/7 when the need arises.
- Plano: 3960 Legacy Drive on the corner of Legacy and Coit Road.
Call us @ 469-392-4000.