By definition, a stroke occurs when blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted or reduced, depriving the brain of oxygen.
There are two main types of strokes commonly seen: Ischemic strokes which occur when arteries are blocked by blood clots and a Hemorrhagic stroke when a blood vessel breaks and leaks blood into the brain. But how can you tell if you or a loved one is suffering a stroke?
??Most commonly we'll see patients with weakness, might be of their face or their arm or leg, sometimes all three,?? said Scott Hagle, Emergency Room Medical Doctor at Northstar Hospital in Iron River. ??Then there are other neurologic conditions that result with problems with visions and speech.??
He recommends the acronym FAST.
F= FACE: Check the face for drooping.A= ARMS: Check for weak arms for signs of droopingS= SPEECH: Is the individual??s speech slurred?T= TIME Call 9-1-1 immediately upon experiencing symptoms.
Tom Bucek is the EMS manager for Northstar Health System and said the first minutes of pre-hospital care, when his ambulance first arrives, is extremely important.
??We need to know when the first symptoms started,?? said Bucek. ??What we do is we check a blood glucose right away to see where their blood sugar's at. Then we will do the Cincinnati Pre-Hospital Stroke Scale to see how they rate. Time is everything. We have to get rolling.??
Oftentimes a patient will undergo a CT scan to examine the type of stroke.
??CT scans allow us to image the brain and look for causes for the symptoms the patient presented, whether Ischemia from a stroke or a Hemorrhagic stroke or other causes,?? Hagle said.
Both Doctor Hagle and Tom said timing is crucial.
??I think the biggest thing I see in the field is people do wait. They think, 'Oh it's nothing, it'll go away,???? Bucek said. ??It??ll get worse.??
For more information on symptoms and signs of a stroke, visit the National Stroke Association website here.