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Understanding Common Stroke Symptoms

Understanding Common Stroke Symptoms

Signs of Strokes in Seniors

Strokes are a leading cause of disability and death in the elderly. Every year, stroke kills nearly one out of every three women and one out of every six men.

Although stroke can happen to anyone at any age, it is more common in older adults. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people aged 65 and over are much more likely to have a stroke than younger people.

When strokes occur, it's important to act fast. Knowing these signs of a stroke can help protect your aging loved one.

The Most Important Signs to Look For

There are many different symptoms of a stroke. However, the most common stroke symptom is sudden weakness or numbness in the face, arm, or leg. This can happen on one side of the body or all over. Other common symptoms include sudden:

  • Confusion or trouble speaking.
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance.
  • Severe headache with no known cause.

Simply knowing these signs is not enough — it’s important to respond quickly. If you think someone may be having a stroke, act F.A.S.T and call 9-1-1 right away. F.A.S.T is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of stroke:

  • Face drooping — Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
  • Arm weakness — Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech difficulty — Is speech slurred? Can the person repeat a simple sentence like “The sky is blue”? Ask the person to say a simple sentence and watch for unusual word choices.
  • Time to Call 911 — If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital right away.

Why Responding Quick is Vital

The sooner stroke is treated, the better the chances are for a full recovery. If you arrive at the hospital within 3 hours of the first stroke symptom, you may be eligible for a clot-busting drug called tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA. This medication is given through an IV and works by breaking up clots that are blocking blood flow to the brain.

By memorizing these signs and symptoms, you can help care for your aging loved one. For information on health plans from ATRIO Health Plans, please contact us at (877) 672-8620.