What To Do If Someone Is Having A Stroke
A stroke is a severe life-threatening condition that occurs when there is a temporary interruption of blood to the brain. The lack of blood supply may be caused by a clot or a bleed in the brain, caused by trauma or a ruptured aortic aneurism.
Strokes are a medical emergency, and urgent treatment is essential.
The quicker a person receives treatment, the less damage is likely to happen.
What are the main causes?
There are many causes of a stroke. The following is a list of possible causes, but this list is not exhaustive:
- Genetical defect (Aneurism)
- High blood pressure (Hyper-tension)
- Thrombosis (Blood clotting)
- Lifestyle – Diet, drinking, smoking
What are the different types?
There are three different types, which are described below:
- The most common type is an ischaemic stroke. It is caused by a blockage cutting off the blood supply to the brain.
- When bleeding in or around the brain happens, a haemorrhagic stroke occurs.
- A mini-stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA) is the third type of stroke. It is the same as a stroke, except that the symptoms only last for a short amount of time. It is because the blockage that stops the blood from getting to your brain is temporary.
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How to recognise the symptoms
According to the Stroke Association, in the UK, a stroke strikes every five minutes. It can happen at any time to anyone of any age. It’s vital to know how to spot the warning signs.
Early recognition is essential; the sooner it can be identified, the more effective treatment may be.
The best way to identify a potential stroke is FAST
FACE – Has the face dropped on one side. Can they smile?
ARMS – Can they raise both arms simultaneously and keep them raised?
SPEECH – Is their speech slurred?
TIME – Time to call 999 / 112 if the patient displays any of these signs.
The casualty may complain of a “Thunderclap” headache or the worst one ever. They may also have a flushed red face, be unable to walk and be incontinent. If you are unsure, CALL 999 / 112
What not to do
If you believe someone is having a stroke, it is important not to
- Move the casualty unless they are in danger
- Induce vomiting
- Give them anything to eat or drink
Can I reduce the risk of having a stroke?
Yes. Go for regular health checks and make positive lifestyle changes. If you work in an environment with a higher risk of somebody having a stroke, attending the QA Level 3 Award in First Aid at Work would give you the knowledge and skills to best deal with this situation.