Every minute counts is a phrase that certainly holds true when someone is having a stroke. According to the American Stroke Association, strokes are the second leading cause of death globally. Getting medical help within the first hour of the onset of symptoms is vital—so much so that researchers call it the “golden hour.” When a person gets to the hospital during that time frame, their chances of survival and recovery are much greater.
Seniors are at highest risk for stroke simply because of their age. But there are other factors that can increase your risk, including high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, and being overweight. A family history of strokes can also play a role.
If you are the adult child of a senior, take a few minutes to review the early warning signs of a stroke. If your parent begins to experience one, quick action can make a life-and-death difference.
Act FAST: Learn the Warning Signs of a Stroke
F-A-S-T is an acronym designed to help the general public understand and identify the most common indicators that someone is having a stroke.
- F is for FACE: While this warning sign doesn’t always occur, it is fairly common. If one side of a person’s mouth appears to be drooping or their smile looks lopsided, it can be a red flag. Look at their face straight on and compare one side with the other. Also ask them to smile.
- A is for ARMS: Difficulty using one arm is another concern to look for. Have your parent try to raise both arms over their head. They may not be able to lift one or both arms if they are having a stroke. If they can, watch to see if either arm drifts downward. That’s a warning sign something isn’t right.
- S is for SPEECH: Strokes interrupt the flow of blood to the brain. As a result, speech problems are common. If a parent is having trouble talking, slurring their words, repeating the same words or phrases, or not making sense, something is wrong. While it might not be a stroke, it’s an issue that needs to be immediately addressed by a physician.
- T is for TIME: Finally, remember that time is of the essence. Don’t wait to see if symptoms disappear. Life-saving medications must be administered quickly to be effective. Call 911 and tell the dispatcher you suspect someone is having a stroke.
Other Common Signs of a Stroke
While the FAST acronym makes it easier for family caregivers and loved ones to remember common stroke symptoms, there are other signs to watch for:
- Sudden onset of a painful headache
- Difficulty walking or uncoordinated walking
- Numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg
- Vision problems, such as sudden loss of vision or blurred vision
Like the FAST indicators, these are potential signs of a stroke that require prompt attention.
Learn More about Mobile Medical Alert Systems
If you are concerned about the safety of a parent, we encourage you to consider investing in a mobile medical alert system. These discreet devices allow the user to quickly call for help in the event of an emergency, no matter where they are. Call 1-844-203-5617 for more information today!