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Recognising and reacting to the symptoms of a stroke

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Knowing the common symptoms of a stroke is vital for ensuring you're able to react quickly and appropriately should you spot them in someone.

In this article, we'll introduce you to the most common symptoms of a stroke, then outline actionable steps you can take to provide much-needed support.

Common symptoms of a stroke

The NHS promotes the acronym F.A.S.T. to help people remember stroke symptoms, and react to them appropriately:

  • Face: The person's mouth, eye, or one side of their face may have dropped, or they may no longer be able to smile.
  • Arms: They may no longer be able to lift both arms and keep them elevated due to weakness or numbness (often in one arm).
  • Speech: Garbled or slurred speech may indicate the person has had a stroke, or they may appear awake but be unable to speak at all.
  • Time: If you spot any of these potential symptoms of a stroke, you should call for an ambulance immediately.

There are several other symptoms that may also indicate a person is having a stroke, including:

  • Complete paralysis on one side
  • Sudden blurring or loss of vision
  • Dizziness or confusion
  • Lack of co-ordination or balance
  • Difficulty understanding the speech of others
  • Extremely sudden and severe headache
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)

There are many potential causes for these symptoms. However, if you believe there is any chance that a person may have had a stroke, the best course of action is to seek medical support.

What to do if you spot the symptoms of a stroke?

The faster you are able to secure medical assistance, the more likely you are to help minimise the long-term effects of a stroke.

Therefore, you should call an ambulance without delay should you spot any of these symptoms.

Aside from this, the best thing you can do until help arrives is to stay calm, help the individual sit or lie down, and reassure them that the ambulance is on its way.

From this point onwards, the treatment they receive will depend on the type of stroke they have been affected by. 85% of strokes are classified as ischemic, which are typically treated with a tissue plasminogen activator (tPA).

Thankfully, stroke survival rates have improved significantly as new treatments have been developed over the last 10 years or so. However, individuals recovering from a stroke are likely to require ongoing care and medical assistance.

Either you or the individual who has experienced a stroke may then be required to make a decision about the type of care they receive. And, live-in care offers many stroke care benefits that other care models are unable to.

This model ensures older people receive around-the-clock care that meets their specific needs. This extends to aspects vital to the stroke recovery process, including medication management, physiotherapy and the co-ordination of the various medical professionals involved.

Understanding the symptoms of a stroke in addition to the immediate and ongoing care requirements of people who have experienced a stroke will put you in the best possible position to take appropriate action should it be required.

Find out more about how live-in care can help support older people following a stroke by talking to the friendly team at The Good Care Group.

Care Sector News Review: December 2018 Practical ways to support older people with hearing loss
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