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When a Stroke Strikes!
Recently, I learned that both the son and daughter of a family member had each suffered a stroke. What were the odds? Both were in their forties; sadly one of the two did not survive. Dead at the age of 48 from complications brought on by an Acute Ischemic Stroke.
Strokes are the fourth leading cause of death and disability in the United States. And it’s also on the rise among adults under the age of 50.
Strokes are preventable when you control the risk factors. In the case of my family, there were early warnings but they weren’t recognized as symptoms of a stroke. They did what most people do when we don’t recognize the warning signs; they waited, watched and hoped the symptoms would fade away. It wasn’t until the tingling in the arm lead to limpness and the inability to speak or remember how to dial 911, was it realized they were in deep trouble.
The truth is the majority of us, including myself are clueless when it comes to identifying the signs of a stroke. My one great take away from all this, was we must act quickly. For answers on what to do, I turned to the American Stroke Association. They recommend using the F.A.S.T technique for identifying the sudden signs and symptoms of a stroke.
Face drooping; Ask the person to smile, is one side of the face drooping?
Arm weakness; Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Speech difficulty; Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence; does speech sound slurred or strange?
Time to call 911 if the person shows any of these signs (together or independently), call 911 immediately; even if the signs go away.
Other significant symptoms of a stroke include:
Sudden numbness or weakness of the leg
Sudden confusion or trouble understanding
Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
Sudden severe headache with no known cause
IF YOU THINK SOMEONE IS HAVING A STROKE
Immediately call 9-1-1. A Stoke is no joke, it prevents oxygen from getting to the brain. When the brain is deprived of the oxygen it needs, the cells begin to die. Getting immediate medical attention and transport to the hospital can make a difference between life, death and disability.
Wanda H. Wilks is an Associate Editor for Healthyblackmen.org. She holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and Health Care Management.