Are you prepared to act fast in the event of stroke symptoms?

Stroke is deadly and debilitating, but survival is possible if the patient reaches the Emergency Room quickly. As soon as you recognize that someone is experiencing stroke symptoms, call 911. The sooner the patient reaches Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center, the better the outcome will be. This is because the treatment for stroke is time-dependent, according to the neurologist featured in the accompanying video.

Recognize the signs of stroke
The symptoms of a stroke develop rapidly . Since no one expects their loved one to suddenly suffer a stroke, it can be difficult to recognize what the symptoms mean. That’s why doctors recommend learning the F.A.S.T. acronym:

  • F: Face. The person’s smile droops on one side.
  • A: Arms. One arm involuntarily drifts downward when both are raised up.
  • S: Speech. The person suddenly starts talking strangely or has slurred speech.
  • T: Time. As soon as these symptoms occur, it’s time to call 911.

Of course, stroke can cause other signs and symptoms. These include:

  • Sudden vision impairment
  • Confusion or inattentiveness
  • Sudden, excruciating headache with no apparent cause
  • Weakness or paralysis on one side of the body
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Trouble walking
  • Loss of consciousness

Act quickly when stroke occurs
Calling 911 is the first thing you should do when there’s even a slight chance that someone is having a stroke. Then, take the following steps:

  • Write down the time symptoms first appeared
  • Help the patient lie down on a couch or the floor
  • Gather the patient’s medications—look in the medicine cabinet and nightstand

If the patient doesn’t have a pulse, then your priority after calling 911 is to perform CPR. The 911 dispatcher can walk you through the steps.

Know what to avoid when stroke occurs
Avoiding these common mistakes could save a life:

  • Don’t give the person aspirin or other medicines
  • Don’t give the patient food or drink
  • Don’t try to drive the patient to the ER instead of waiting for an ambulance
  • Don’t leave the individual alone

Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center is a recognized leader in stroke care. We are a Comprehensive Stroke Center that also features a specialized Neurovascular Program. A registered nurse in Thousand Oaks welcomes your general healthcare questions at (877) 888-5746, but please do call 911 immediately if you or someone else might be having a stroke.

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