National Stroke Week – signs of stroke and what actions to take

Do you know the signs of a stroke and how to think… F.A.S.T. ? A stroke is always a medical emergency which is why it’s so important to recognise the signs and act fast.

The Stroke Foundation recommends the F.A.S.T. test as an easy way to remember the most common signs of stroke. Using the F.A.S.T. test involves asking these simple questions:

  • Face Check their face. Has their mouth drooped?
  • Arms Can they lift both arms?
  • Speech Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?
  • Time Is critical. If you see any of these signs call 000 straight away.

What signs should I look for?

Signs to look out for are facial weakness, arm weakness and difficulty with speech are the most common symptoms or signs of stroke, but other signs include:

  • 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 abrupt onset or unexplained change in the pattern of headaches
  • Difficulty swallowing

How do I know if it’s a mini-stroke?

When the signs of a stroke disappear within a short time, such as a few minutes, it may be a transient ischaemic attack (TIA).

A TIA is a warning that you may have a stroke and an opportunity to seek medical attention and prevent this from happening.

The longer a stroke remains untreated, the greater the chance of stroke-related brain damage.

I think someone is having a stroke, what should  I do?

If you or someone else experiences the signs of stroke, no matter how long they last, call 000 immediately.

For helpful resources of what to do while you wait for an ambulance can be found here:

[ Link ]

What happens next?

Everyone’s stroke is different, so recovery and rehabilitation will vary. Some people may recover almost fully however others may continue to have impairments such brain injury or require therapy and activities. Improvement can happen over years but for many it happens in the first 6 months.

Finding the right rehabilitation and support network to meet your loved one’s needs is important. Health professionals can include physiotherapist and speech pathologists to work with your loved one after a stroke.

Your loved one may even require specialised support staff for acquired or lifetime conditions to assist living well in their own home and you may look for specialised in-home assistance services.  [ link  ]

Remember to think F.A.S.T during National Stroke week and join us in celebrating the precious moments that you or your loved ones can continue to enjoy during and after recovery.

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