By Kelly Eichelberger
OTR/L Owner /Therapist
Magnolia Neuro Rehab
Every May, the United States observes National Stroke Awareness Month. It’s a great time to brush up on general knowledge, what you can do to prevent stroke, and some ways to plan for action should you ever experience or witness signs and symptoms of stroke.
Types of Strokes
There are two main types of strokes. The first type is called an ischemic stroke, which occurs due to lack of blood flow. This is most often caused by a blood clot and narrowing of the blood vessels, which is called atherosclerosis. An ischemic stroke causes damage by lack of oxygen to the brain tissue. Sometimes this damage results in long-term issues, and sometimes it goes undetected. Occasionally, a short-term loss of blood flow can cause signs and symptoms of a stroke without lasting damage. This is called a Transient Ischemic Attack, or a TIA.
The second type of stroke is a hemorrhagic stroke. This type of stroke occurs due to a bleed in the brain and causes damage from lack of oxygen to tissues as well as extra pressure from the bleed.
Both ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes require immediate medical attention. Knowing the signs and symptoms of a stroke can assist a person with getting the right help as soon as possible.
Signs and Symptoms of Strokes
Have you heard of F.A.S.T.E.R.? It’s a great way to help remember the signs and symptoms of a stroke.
Facial Drooping: Look for a change in movement or a “droop”. Does a smile seem lopsided or does the tongue pull to one side when stuck out?
Arm Weakness: This is often reported as feelings of heaviness, difficulty maintaining arm in the air (drifting downward) or inability to activate muscles. These symptoms can sometimes be associated with numbness or tingling.
Stability: Sometimes individuals will fall, feel very dizzy or be unable to stand without assistance. Difficulty maintaining balance, trouble walking and loss of coordination are all possible stroke symptoms.
Talking: People report this symptom to sound like slurred speech or “jibberish” along with difficulty “getting the right words out”. Test this by asking the person to repeat a simple sentence.
Eyes: Visual changes are a common symptom of a stroke and can appear like missing half of your vision, double vision, blurred vision, or only paying attention to one side.
React: This letter reminds us to call 911 right away. There is a limited window of time where certain therapies can be given. It’s helpful to note the time that signs and symptoms started and exactly what you have noticed.
Hemorrhagic strokes signs and symptoms can look very similar, but can also include extreme headache, light sensitivity, nausea and vomiting.
Remember F.A.S.T.E.R. this month and every month and share with loved ones and friends to help spread awareness about stroke prevention. If you know anyone who has suffered from a stroke, the skilled therapists at Magnolia Neuro Rehab can help address any deficits that are making it more difficult to accomplish daily activities or participate in preferred interests. Magnolia Neuro Rehab also offers caregiver training on transfers, adaptive and durable medical equipment and assisting with dressing, bathing, and eating.