An intriguing aspect about the human body is that all the organs within it have to work together unanimously in order for an individual to be able to fully operate and exist. If the kidneys fail, the liver is effected and can no longer perform its function causing the body to accumulate toxic waste. If the air pathways are cut off, the brain and lungs will lack air and blood supply, thus causing unconsciousness or death. If the stomach doesn’t digest food, the body will lack the nutrients that it needs for energy or nourishment for the blood to send to other organs. At the “heart” of it all is the cardiovascular system that is responsible for circulating that blood throughout the veins to ensure that all organs are receiving it. Without blood circulation, organs wouldn’t receive the nutrients or oxygen in order to continue to operate. When normal blood flow is cut off to the brain, this prevents brain cells from receiving the same elements that the other organs need for survival. If it’s not immediately called to attention, it can potentially lead to brain damage or even death. This particular scenario is called a stroke.
While a stroke is often seen as a cognitive impairment caused by coagulation in the brain, it is heavily caused by cardiovascular issues such as:
- high blood pressure
- high cholesterol
- a hardening of the arteries
- heart disease
According to the American Stroke Association, “a stroke occurs when a blood vessel is blocked by a clot or ruptures”¹. There is no forewarning of a stroke approaching, however the pre-symptoms are more obvious compared to heart attacks, making it easier for those to seek medical attention.
Therefore, if you or someone that you know is susceptible to strokes, be alert for these six signs.
Similar to a heart attack, those who are suffering from a stroke will usually feel numb within the upper body. This includes the face, arms, legs or one side of the body. Numbness is often the first symptom of a transient ischemic attack. The University of California in San Francisco (UCSF) Health described that transient ischemic attacks occurs prior to the onset of a stroke², hence why it is sometimes known as a “mini stroke”.
2. Vision Problems
Those suffering from a stroke may experience slight dim or fuzziness in either one or both of their eyes. Vision issues often indicate that one is about to experience a stroke or a stroke has already happened. Some patients report permanent vision changes post-stroke. On rare occasions when both sides of the brain are affected, it’s possible for blindness to transpire.
3. Severe Headache
When a headache seems to appear without any specific cause, this could be an indication of a blood clot within the brain. For those who have frequent migraines, this might make it slightly more difficult to determine a stroke. If there is succeeding vomit, it’s likely that a stroke is happening.
The individual seems to suddenly fall, lose balance and coordination, along with feelings of nausea, burping, or trouble swallowing. They will also not be able to walk properly. Dizziness is often correlated with an issue within the inner ear, and thus sometimes those who suffer with vertigo may not fully know whether they’re having a stroke or a vertigo attack. Be aware of other stroke signs that may follow before drawing any conclusions.
If fainting ensues after someone feels intense dizziness, this is a huge red flag that a stroke might be occurring, although fainting doesn’t happen in all cases. Fainting can only occur if reduced blood flow happens in the area of the brain that maintains consciousness³.
Those suffering from a stroke will suddenly exhibit signs of confusion, lack of focus, have trouble speaking or have difficulty understanding others. If it continues for too long, this can do significant damage to the brain and even cause permanent mental changes.
Physical Signs That Loved Ones Should Be Aware Of (The F.A.S.T. Warning)
F – Stands for Face Drooping. If you notice that one side of your loved one’s face is slightly drooping, it could mean that they’re experiencing feelings of numbness. To test this theory, attempt to touch the side of the face that is drooped. Ask them if they can feel the sense of touch. If they do not want to be touched, simply ask them to smile and observe if anything seems lopsided.
A – Stands for Arm Weakness. Ask your loved one to raise both of their arms. Can they do this successfully without one arm slowly drifting downwards? If not, this is another indication of numbness.
S – Stands for Speech. Try to talk to your loved one. How do they sound? Do they slur their speech? Are they easy to understand or are they incoherent? If so, it’s possible that this is a sign of confusion.
T – Stands for Time to Call 9-1-1. If your loved one is experiencing the last three symptoms listed above, there is no time to waste. The next step is to immediately seek medical attention.
Preventing Strokes At LifeWorks
Having a stroke is a serious medical condition and we encourage all patients to call an ambulance if one feels that they are experiencing one.
However, if you feel that you’re at risk for a stroke due to underlying heart conditions, LifeWorks provides alternative treatments to treat cardiovascular disease, heart palpitations, hypertension, diabetes and many others. With the use of non-invasive techniques that decrease inflammation, eliminate fatty plaque and calcium deposits from arteries, and reducing hypertension levels, the possibility of experiencing a stroke will be reduced. To schedule an appointment with one of our practitioners, please call 727-466-6789.