A stroke occurs when the supply of blood to the brain is suddenly interrupted. This usually happens either because the artery carrying blood to the brain is blocked (ischaemic stroke) or because it bursts (haemorrhagic stroke). Blood is full of oxygen and essential nutrients for your brain cells, so when supply stops, the brain cells die. However, if the person receives emergency medical treatment soon after symptoms begin, the chances of successful recovery and rehabilitation are improved.
What does a stroke look like?
Because all of this happens inside the body, it’s essential to know the visible signs to notice and recognise in the case of a stroke, so that you can seek medical help as quickly as possible. The easiest way to remember the symptoms is the FAST test:
Face – Has their mouth dropped?
Arm – Can they lift both arms?
Speech – Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?
Time – Time is critical. If you see any of these signs, call 000 immediately.
Other signs of stroke may include one, or a combination of:
- Weakness, numbness or paralysis of the face, arm or leg (on either or both sides of the body)
- Difficulty speaking or understanding
- Dizziness, loss of balance or an unexplained fall
- Loss of vision, sudden blurring or decreased vision in one or both eyes
- Headache (usually severe and with abrupt onset) or unexplained change in the pattern of headaches
- Difficulty swallowing
(Source: Stroke Foundation)
A stroke is always a medical emergency. If you or someone else experiences the signs of stroke, no matter how long they last, call 000 immediately.
For more information visit strokefoundation.com.au