Stroke – How to Know and What to Do

  • Ask them to smile – check one side doesn’t droop.
  • Ask them to raise both arms – check if one drifts down or can’t be raised.
  • Ask them to repeat a simple sentence – check that they can remember it and speech doesn’t slur.
  • Get them to stick out their tongue. It should look symmetrical.

You are looking for symmetry. So if they fail any of these, then get help immediately as time is of the essence for clot busting drugs to work. They should be given within 3 hours, although some benefit is gained up to 6 hours. (More info.) If you have a choice of hospitals, choose to be taken to one that can perform a CT scan, so valuable time is not lost.

According to the American Stroke Association, approximately 83% of strokes are ischemic (clots); the remainder are hemorrhagic (bleeding). Bleedings strokes are rarer, but usually do more damage. It’s vital to know which kind of stroke you are dealing with as clot busting drugs would intensify a bleeding stroke.

You should also tell the emergency room staff if you are on any form of blood thinner (aspirin, Coumadin, warfarin, etc.) Also if you have atrial fibrillation which can lead to a clot breaking loose from the heart and causing a stroke.

Further info: Tests following a stroke

Return to blog – Pathway through Pain – Journey to Joy

One Response to Stroke – How to Know and What to Do

  1. Pingback: Stroke of Insight | Pathway through Pain – Journey to Joy

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