Family Life: Signs of a Stroke

Heart Disease and Stroke at Mustard Seed Sentinel
Credit: Annie Spratt

Signs of a Stroke

by Diane Burton

I planned to write a post about pets. That can wait for next month. In light of recent happenings at home, I thought it important to share a PSA. My public service announcement has to do with a stroke. What to do and what not to do if you think a person is having a stroke.

First, the signs are pretty clear. Think FAST.

· Face: ask the person to smile to see if one side is drooping

· Arms: ask the person to raise their arms, palms up, and hold to see if one side is weaker

· Speech: is the person making sense or the speech slurred; ask him/her to say a short phrase

· Time: if the answer is yes to any one of these, call 911; write down the time the symptoms start; time is of the essence.

I’m not a doctor, nor do I have medical education. I do have experience, though. My husband had a stroke last week. Fortunately, he got medical help in time to prevent a TIA (also called a mini-stroke) from becoming a full-blown stroke. How did I know what to do when he started speaking nonsense? I remembered a sign I’d seen in a doctor’s office about FAST. I wasted time looking up the signs of a stroke on WebMD, (I should have trusted my gut). I knew I had to take him to the ER.

Regarding wasting time. I drove him. Although we don’t live in a metro area, we do have rush hour (more like half hour). Driving in that was a bad idea. It wasted time getting help. It also made me very anxious. Not good.

Why is time of the essence? A stroke happens when a clot prevents oxygen from getting to the brain. The longer the brain is deprived of oxygen the more the damage. Within a window of three hours, a clot-busting drug can be administered. After the window, it won’t do any good. That’s why it’s important to write down when the symptoms start. In times of stress, many people (including me) can’t depend on memory.

My husband is fortunate that he got medical help in time. I didn’t ask him if he wanted to go to the hospital. I just took him. Instead, I should have called 911.

For more information on strokes.

Some of the conditions that put you at risk of a stroke are:

· High blood pressure

· Tobacco (smoking or chewing)

· Heart disease

· Diabetes

For more information visit WebMD.

We never know when a little sign or a TV PSA will give us the knowledge to do the right thing at the right time. If this post helps one person, I’m happy.

Have a good month and stay healthy.


About the Author

Diane Burton at Mustard Seed Sentinel

Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction.

Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and the Alex O’Hara PI mystery series.

She is also a contributor to two anthologies: Portals, Volume 2 and How I Met My Husband.

Diane and her husband live in West Michigan. They have two children and five grandchildren.

For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website. Connect with Diane online at her blog, on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and on Pinterest. Sign up for Diane’s new release alert.

You can read Diane’s “Family Life” column on the 3rd Wednesday each month here at Mustard Seed Sentinel.

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