A stroke, medically known as a cerebrovascular accident (CVA), is a very serious health condition that can be fatal or life-altering. Strokes happen when the blood supply to part of the brain is suddenly cut off or restricted. Which means it isn’t getting the vital oxygen or nutrients it needs to survive, and the brain cells will begin to die. In 85% of cases, the blood supply failure is caused by a blood clot, which will cause the blood to get stuck and unable to reach the brain. Other causes of strokes can be occlusions, where the lining of the vessel gets built up and blocked, usually because of high cholesterol. Or a burst blood vessel in the body that causes the blood to stop flowing to the brain.
The sooner a person receives treatment for a stroke the less long term damage will happen. If treatment is delayed an increased number of brain cells will die and the patient may not recover to their previous health. It is essential that as soon as you spot any of the warning signs, you call an ambulance or take the resident to the hospital, immediately.
Stay aware of the stroke symptoms, remember the F.A.S.T acronym:
F — Face
A facial droop is a visible sign of a stroke. One side of the face and/or mouth will drop, and droop downwards. If you are unsure if the resident has a facial droop, ask them to smile. If they cannot smile with both sides of their mouth, treat it as a stroke.
A — Arms
Weakness in one half of the body is another symptom of stroke. Ask the patient to raise their arms, and if they struggle to lift one or both of their arms, they could be having a stroke.
S — Speech
A symptom of a stroke is slurring or difficulty producing words. The person may also have difficulty understanding what you are saying to them.
T — Time
If your patient has any of these symptoms, it is Time to dial 999 for an ambulance. The sooner you can get help the better.