According to The Internet Stroke Center, an independent web resource for information about stroke care and research, approximately 795,000 people suffer a stroke each year. Nearly three-quarters of all strokes occur in people over age 65, and the risk of stroke more than doubles each decade after the age of 55. The risk for strokes in seniors is concerning and these are sobering statistics for them and their caregivers.
Healthcare professionals will tell you that “time lost is brain lost.” Time is of the essence when it comes to getting someone suffering a stroke the help they need, meaning caregivers must be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of a stroke to save their loved one from death or long-term disability.
What is a Stroke?
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to a section of the brain is cut off. The symptoms will vary depending upon the region of the brain affected by the loss of blood supply and often includes changes in sensation or motor control.
A stroke’s symptoms also depend on the amount of brain tissue that is deprived of blood supply. For example, someone who experienced a mild stroke may temporarily experience weakness of an arm or leg, but those having a more severe stroke may be unable to speak or be permanently paralyzed on one side of their body. If the blood supply to the brain is not restored quickly, either on its own or by medical treatment, the effects may be permanent.
Though some people fully recover from a stroke, over two-thirds of stroke survivors are left with a disability of some type.
If you suspect that someone is having a stroke, acting fast is critical. Treating a stroke victim immediately can minimize the stroke’s long-term effects and help reduce the person’s risk of death from the stroke.
FAST is an acronym that can quickly help you recognize the signs and symptoms of a stroke. There is a FAST app from the American Stroke Association to help you remember the signs.
Early Warning Signs and Symptoms
You can use the FAST acronym to recognize these symptoms of a stroke:
F: Face Drooping Have the person smile and observe if one side of their face is drooping. The smile may appear uneven, and one side of the face may feel numb.
A: Arm Weakness Have the person raise both of their arms. Is there numbness or weakness on one side? One of the arms drifting downwards is a sign of one-sided arm weakness.
S: Speech Difficulty A sign of a stroke is slurred speech or the person having difficulty speaking at all. Their speech may be incomprehensible. Have the person repeat a simple sentence and listen and look for any speech abnormality.
T: Time to dial 911! If the person shows any of the symptoms detailed above, call 911 even if the symptoms have gone away. Get the person to a hospital immediately.
Other Signs and Symptoms of a Stroke
While these are the hallmark symptoms of a stroke, a stroke can disrupt any of the functions of the central nervous system. Symptoms of a stroke come on suddenly and usually occur on one side of the body. It’s essential to get the person affected to a hospital as soon as possible to get them prompt treatment.
Here are 14 other possible signs and symptoms of a stroke:
- Weakness or paralysis of any part of the body
- Numbness or a “pins and needles” sensation anywhere in the body
- Trouble walking or loss of balance and coordination
- Vision changes, blurred vision, or trouble with eyesight in one or both eyes
- A severe headache, unlike past headaches
- Inability to speak, slurred speech, or inability to understand speech
- Loss of sensation in any part of the body
- Memory loss
- Behavioral changes
- Muscle stiffness
- Difficulty swallowing
- Involuntary eye movements
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of strokes in seniors is a crucial responsibility for a caregiver. Keep a list of these symptoms handy so you can get the senior in your life the help they need if they appear to be suffering a stroke. You can make a difference and prevent death or a long-term disability.
We’re Here to Assist You
Caring for a loved one that has suffered a stroke can be a very challenging responsibility. To assist you, First In Care offers caregiving for seniors that have suffered from strokes. Our certified home health aides will provide reliable and discreet care for your loved one.
Our family trusted services in Manatee County, FL, include respite care, companionship care, personal care, medication reminders, transportation, and even 24-hour care. For your added convenience, all our home care amenities can be individually combined into an affordable package that accommodates your budget. To learn more about First In Care now, please visit us at www.firstincare.com.