You may have noticed I haven’t posted in about two weeks. Well, I had a scare. Someone very dear to my heart had a stroke two weeks ago. Now, I try to keep this blog fun and upbeat and mostly silly, because frankly – that’s how I am. But sometimes shit happens, and you don’t feel like being silly. So I was thinking, ok, the person is doing well and is getting better every day – let’s be silly again! But it didn’t feel quite right. I realized I needed to get this off my chest and tell others in order to fully move on. So here is my PSA!
If you don’t know what a stroke is, it is when a part of your brain doesn’t get the blood (and therefore oxygen) it needs. This could be due to a clot or a brain bleed.
Many people (myself included) always thought of stroke as an ‘older person’ thing. Someone is old, they get a clot, so they have a heart attack or stroke. It turns out that is NOT always the case. Young, active, healthy adults can get strokes.
Without going into the science of strokes, I wanted to share the signs and symptoms of a stroke. I think too often healthy adults are quick to ignore red flags, which is the worst thing you can do. The thing about a stroke (or heart attack) is that the quicker you get it taken care of, the better. If it’s a clot, there is medicine emergency departments will give you to dissolve the clot. If you wait even a few hours, it can make a world of difference (and not for the better). So if you start experiencing these symptoms and just don’t feel right, PLEASE don’t wait and try to sleep it off – call 911 or go to your nearest hospital.
Symptoms of a Major Stroke
Major strokes can cause pretty sudden and severe symptoms. The acronym to remember is FAST:
F – Face: Does one side of the face droop? Easiest way to see this is to ask the person to smile.
A – Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms, does one arm drift downward.
S – Speech: Ask the person to say a simple sentence. Does the speech sound slurred or strange?
T – Time: If you notice these symptoms, call 911.
Symptoms of a Minor (yet still serious) Stroke
I say minor because sometimes you are having a stroke, but your body isn’t going into paralysis. That doesn’t mean it is any less serious and should be ignored. It just may not be as severe as a major stroke.
Other signs of stroke can include sudden:
- Numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg – especially on one side of the body
- Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Severe headache with no known cause
On top of the symptoms above, women can sometimes have unique stroke symptoms which include sudden
- face and limb pain
- general weakness
- chest pain
- shortness of breath
The experts say ‘sudden’ because it does tend to just occur at once. It doesn’t have to be like getting hit in the head with something, but you may just notice all of a sudden you are dizzy, nauseous, and a little confused and you weren’t 15 minutes ago. And the symptoms don’t go away.
The symptoms above don’t have to be severe (except for the headache I guess). Perhaps your arm just feels numb and tingly and you feel dizzy, but you can still walk. Maybe it’s a little harder to write, but you can still write. This is exactly what happened to my loved one. She could still walk, drive (she probably shouldn’t have, but she did) and lift her arm but she KNEW something was wrong because it was a lot harder to do than it should have been. Thankfully, she chose not to ignore it and got the help she needed.
So please, if you ever experience these symptoms and just know something isn’t right, don’t ignore it and be the ‘tough one’ – get the help you need. And also, don’t think because you are young and healthy, that nothing will happen to you. It just so happens with the person I know, she had a heart defect she never knew about which caused a small clot that traveled to the brain. She was otherwise very healthy – normal weight, low blood pressure, normal cholesterol, normal everything.
I’m not here to scare, I’m just here to raise awareness.
Well, now that I have that off my chest – back to my normal blogging ;o)