When Should You Seek Medical Care for a Stroke?

Stroke is often referred to as a “brain attack” because it involves the disruption of the blood supply to the brain. When brain tissue is deprived of oxygen-rich blood, it begins to die. Stroke can be fatal. Even when stroke patients survive, they often face a lifetime of physical and cognitive disabilities. This is why it’s essential to get emergency care without delay when stroke symptoms develop. The sooner a patient reaches a Certified Primary Stroke Center such as Riverside Community Hospital, the better the chances of survival are.

Identify the Signs
When you watch this featured video, you’ll hear a registered nurse at Riverside Community Hospital explain some of the common signs of stroke. These include one-sided weakness, confusion, walking difficulties, and speech problems. Stroke care experts teach their communities to use the F.A.S.T. acronym to simplify the recognition of stroke symptoms. The letters stand for face, arms, speech, and time. If you think someone is having a stroke, ask that person to smile and observe whether one side of the smile droops downward. Ask the person to raise both arms so that they are parallel to the floor and observe whether one arm drifts downward. These signs, along with slurred speech, indicate that a stroke may be occurring and time is of the essence. In addition to these stroke signs, this life-threatening condition may cause dizziness, visual impairments, loss of balance, impaired coordination, and a sudden, severe headache.

Know What to Do
Never wait to see if these signs and symptoms will dissipate; it’s essential to call 911 immediately. The longer the blood supply to the brain tissue is cut off, the more brain damage there will be. People who are suffering a stroke may have trouble getting to the phone. This is one reason why seniors are advised to wear medical alert buttons to summon emergency help from wherever they are. After calling 911 or pressing a medical alert button, the patient should lie down and turn his or her head to the side. Never take aspirin for a stroke and avoid swallowing anything else while waiting for emergency responders.

The stroke care team at Riverside Community Hospital urges our neighbors to call 911 immediately if any potential signs of stroke develop. It’s our mission to save lives, improve long-term outcomes, and connect patients with resources and information necessary to reduce the risk of stroke. For non-emergent questions about our hospital services in Riverside, call a registered nurse at (951) 788-3463.

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