When a stroke happens, every second counts. The best chance for a full recovery from stroke comes from recognizing stroke symptoms, calling 9-1-1, and getting treatment as quickly as possible. May is National Stroke Awareness Month. Learn the symptoms of stroke and why calling 9-1-1 can help you or a loved one survive a stroke. According to the American Heart Association, every year in the United States, nearly 800,000 people have a stroke. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and a major cause of disability in adults.
Don’t be caught off guard. Know the signs of stroke and make a commitment to yourself and your loved ones to call 9-1-1 right away if you notice any of the signs of stroke. If you think someone is having a stroke, act F.A.S.T. with this simple test: F=Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop? A=Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward? S=Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is the speech slurred or strange? T=Time: Every second counts. If you see any of these signs, call 9-1-1 right away. You may think you can get to the hospital more quickly if you drive yourself, but lifesaving treatment begins in the ambulance.
Symptoms of a stroke include: Sudden numbness or weakness, especially if only on one side of the body; sudden painful headache; sudden dizziness, lack of balance, or trouble walking or speaking; sudden confusion, difficulty talking or understanding; and sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes. Knowing the signs of stroke and calling 9-1-1 saves precious time. The more time that passes without the right treatment, the greater the chance for disability. Most stroke patients must get clot-busting medicine within three hours of having a stroke.
If you or a loved one has experienced a stroke, the Visiting Nurse Home Care and Hospice of Carroll County and Western Maine (VNHCH) is here to help. “It doesn’t have to be the end of the world,” said Sandy Ruka, MS, RN, Executive Director of VNHCH. “There is always the risk for a loss of independence after a stroke but there are things we can do to help mitigate that risk.” Stroke survivors can often benefit from physical and occupational therapy and many stroke patients need speech therapy. VNHCH brings these services to you at your home to help regain lost abilities and maintain current abilities. In addition, VNHCH offers nursing services to help stroke survivors keep their independence and remain in the comfort of their own home.
For more information about VNHCH services, visit the website at www.vnhch.org or call 603-356-7006 or 800-499-4171. Passionate people. Compassionate care.