Know the signs of a stroke

It is important to know how to detect the symptoms of a stroke early in order to limit the damage it can cause.

In fact, it can make the difference between having a mild brain injury, a serious disability, or even death.

And yet, most people who suffer from it don’t quickly identify what’s happening to them and many don’t seek medical help until several hours after the first symptoms.

Patients often ignore these early signs or minimize them, believing that they are temporary and will go away.

But within minutes after the blood supply to the brain is cut off, the cells begin to die.

Alarm symptoms

The most common symptom of a stroke is sudden weakness in the face, arm or leg, almost always on one side of the body, says the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to the British National Health Service (NHS) you should call the emergency room immediately if you see any of these symptoms:

Paralysis of the face: a part of the face may look like it is hanging. The patient may not be able to smile or the mouth or eye may appear droopy.

Arm weakness-A person who is having a stroke may not be able to raise both arms and keep them in the air. You may also, for example, feel a weakness to lift a glass. Another warning symptom is feeling that one arm is asleep.

Difficulty with language (aphasia) — the patient may notice slowness of speech, slurred speech, or slurred or incoherent speech. Some people may be totally unable to speak, even though they are awake.

Other symptoms to watch for include sudden problems with vision in one or both eyes, sudden difficulty walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination, sudden severe headache with no known cause, and confusion and problems with perception.

What happens during a stroke?

Like all organs, the brain needs oxygen and nutrients carried by the blood to function properly. Stroke occurs when that blood flow is interrupted.

This may happen because of a clot blocking the passage of blood or because of a ruptured blood vessel in the brain.

According to the WHO, 6.7 million peopledied of stroke worldwide in 2012.

The NHS estimates that one in four sufferers die, and those who survive often suffer serious long-term problems as a result of damage to the brain.

Older people are more at risk for strokes, although they can happen at any age, including children. Similarly, the chance of having a stroke doubles with each decade after age 55.

Key recommendations

It is recommended to identify what our heart rate is. Atrial fibrillation, a heart rhythm disorder that causes irregular heartbeats, can increase the risk of stroke by a factor of 5.

In addition, it is important to be alert and call for medical help if a mini-stroke, known in medicine as a Transient Ischemic Attack, occurs.

In this case the symptoms are the same but temporary, and disappear within 24 hours, sometimes even lasting only a few minutes.

But ignoring it is dangerous: according to several doctors, one in 12 people who have a mini-stroke will have a major stroke in less than a week.

Many experts warn that in addition to hypertension, cholesterol, diabetes and atrial fibrillation, other factors increase the risk of stroke, such as smoking, obesity, lack of physical activity and poor diet.