How to recognize warning signs of a stroke ?

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Answered by: Rachael, An Expert in the Stroke - General Category
With a large part of the population living longer than any other previous generation, the mention of strokes and heart attacks are becoming common day phrases. Statistics are on the rise and hospitals are saturated with critically affected patients. As the body gets older, the internal workings of the body are older, thus making them prone to break down. Common place television adds, media's attention on the third highest reason for death in the United States, allows for these life-changing emergencies to be "watered down" and open to complacency. That is until it happens to someone near and dear. A common yet misunderstood condition is a stroke. What are the warning signs of a stroke? A cerebral accident can mimic so many subtle conditions, how can one be sure? Is there a way to tell if an elderly person just missed their step and fell; or is there a more immediate life threatening situation happening right now? Could a thirty year old female really have a stroke, or is she just drunk? If the warning signs are not known or ignored, how can the victim's life be saved?

The brain is a vital organ of the body, next to the heart it has the ability to either improve or destroy the quality of life. Instead of a heart attack the American Heart Association,(AHA), has named strokes - brain attacks. A brain attack, or stroke, happens when oxygen is not properly delivered to the brains delicate tissue. Of all of the tissue in ones body, nerves are the only tissue that do not self regenerate. When the tissue has starved to the point of death or necrosis, the damage is permanent. Advances in Neuro-technology have helped to improve the odds of a favorable outcome of a stroke victim's survival and quality of life. Early recognition and early treatment are necessary for the overall health and well-being of the victim. Time limits are present with many of the stroke treatments, so never guess on how long the patient has been in an impaired state of mind. It is far better to say "I do not know" than to state "About an hour". When dealing with a possible stroke patient it is far better to call 911 and have the person checked out, than to wait to see if they will snap out of it.

Basic warning signs of a stroke can include all or just one of the following symptoms. Anyone who is unable to tell you their name or recall very basic information such as the month or the year needs to be looked at by a physician. Slurred speech is never a normal finding and should be a warning sign especially in the elderly. Abnormal appearances in the face such as drooping of an eye lid, or the corner of the mouth are indicative of a stroke. Sudden dizziness and or weakness can be attributed to the partial paralysis which occurs in many stroke victims. 85% of all strokes present with these types of symptoms. Though, there is another stroke which is far more fatal and quicker to cause deterioration. This stroke happens when a bleeding vessel leaks. This allows for extra pressure in the brain cavity to build up. There is only one tell-tale symptom with this type of stroke. The worst headache the person has ever felt, and they can usually point directly at the origin of pain. Weakenss and paralysis may or may not come with this type of stroke. The only definite way to tell if someone is having a stroke or not is through a CAT Scan. If in doubt, have it checked out. The warning signs of a stroke could be the last chance someone may have to let you know there is something wrong.

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