The defibrillator is being used more and more: we are more aware of cardiovascular disease and the recognition of cardiac arrest.
However, other pathologies are all as serious as a stroke.
The Stroke in a Few Figures
- First cause of acquired handicap of the adult,
- Second cause of dementia (after Alzheimer’s disease) and
- Third leading cause of death in France just behind myocardial infarction.
In Canada, stroke affects between 40,000 and 50,000 people each year. Finally, in the United States, it is the fourth leading cause of death. If you want, you can have a look at WebMD’s slideshow of Stroke in Pictures.
Stroke is a pathology that should not be taken lightly. But what exactly is it?
Our brains are made up of various kinds of cells, including neurons or neuronal cells. These require a continuous supply of oxygen and glucose to function properly. Oxygen and Glucose are actually the “fuel” of the cells, brought by the blood vessels. The blood circulates normally in all the vessels and provides the cells with everything they need to perform their functions.
What are the Stages of a Stroke?
When a clot forms inside a cerebral artery or when a blood vessel ruptures, the blood can not flow normally.
As a result, some areas of the brain can no longer be irrigated.
Neuronal cells no longer receive the elements necessary for their proper functioning.
They are particularly sensitive to lack of oxygen and after a while, they die.
This is how areas of the brain are damaged.
But our brain and especially the different brain areas, are the support of various functions: movement, memory, speech etc.
Consequently, this cerebral damage will result in disorders in the performance of these functions. They will vary depending on the area (s) injured (s) but also, the importance of lesions.
Stroke is therefore an emergency because it can cause permanent neurological damage, very disabling in everyday life but also the death of the victim. It is therefore important to know how to recognize the warning signs.
How to detect a stroke?
According to the Association France AVC, the symptoms of stroke include three categories:
Physical symptoms include:
- an impairment of vision.
- Muscle weakness or paralysis.
- A difficulty to swallow.
- A loss of the sensitivity of the face.
- Memory loss.
- Language issues such as difficulties to speak, write and understand.
Test to detect the symptoms of a stroke
Here is a simple and effective test that will allow you to recognize the symptoms of a stroke and thus, act quickly accordingly:
- Mouth: Look if the person’s mouth is crooked or if the mouth is pulled down. Then ask him to smile: does one side of the mouth twist?
- Arms: Ask him to lift and hold both arms in the air for 10 seconds: does one of the two arms not come up or fall off prematurely?
- Word: Observe if the person has difficulty expressing themselves or speaks confusedly. Ask him to repeat a simple sentence (it’s sunny today): does it do it right?
- Time: If you notice at least one of the signs described, note precisely the start time and call the emergency department so that a medical center can take care of the person.
In case of stroke, time is against us: the more we can take care of the victim quickly, the more likely it is to survive and minimize the after-effects. Neurologists consider that it is necessary to act within three hours after the onset of symptoms.
It is therefore important that you remember these simple little tests that can make all the difference: recovery without sequelae or permanent handicap, live or die.
PS You can also have a look at our article about How to Prevent Parkinson’s.