Community Blog

Act FAST to Prevent Disability from a Stroke

By ketan patel

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a stroke kills someone in the United States every four minutes, amounting to 140,000 deaths each year. Almost 90% of all strokes are called ischemic strokes where blood flow is blocked to the brain.

While strokes can occur at any age, the risk increases with age. Strokes are a special concern for seniors over the age of 65. More than half of people who survive a stroke in that age bracket are left with reduced mobility, along with other problems. It is important to be able to recognize warning signs that a person may be suffering a stroke. With fast action by a family member or an in-home caregiver, some disabilities or even death may be avoided.

Who is At Risk?

A stroke can occur at any age. In 2009, 34% of people who were hospitalized for a stroke were under the age of 65. Medical conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol put people at a higher risk of having a stroke. In addition, obesity and lifestyle choices like smoking add to the risk. AFib, atrial fibrillation, is a type of irregular heartbeat that affects over two million people in the United States. The condition can cause blood clots that can travel to the brain and cause a stroke. It is estimated that one out of every three adults in the US has at least one of these risk factors.

Recognizing the Signs of a Stroke

If you think someone may be having a stroke, think and act FAST. Yes, you must act quickly, but FAST is a catchy device that reminds us of the signs of a stroke. Call 911, even if you are not sure.

            F - Face Drooping

Check to see if one side of the face is numb by asking the person to smile. Notice if the smile seems lopsided or uneven.

            A – Arm Weakness

When the person raises both arms, does one arm drift downward? Is it numb, or weak?

            S – Speech Difficulty

See if the person is having trouble speaking, or if s/he is hard to understand. Is the person able to repeat a simple sentence correctly?

            T – Time to Call 911

Don’t wait to call 911 if you notice any of these symptoms, even if they disappear. When you call 911, say that you think the person has had a stroke so they will help you get to the hospital immediately. Notice the time that the symptoms first appeared.

Other symptoms of a stroke include sudden confusion, trouble understanding or speaking; numbness or weakness on one side of the body of the arm, face or leg; sudden difficulty seeing out of one or both eyes; sudden severe headache; trouble walking, dizziness or loss of balance and coordination.

Home Care Services for the Elderly

The home care providers at Home Helpers of South Shore can help your loved one by preparing meals, helping with bathing and dressing, overseeing medicine. A caregiver can provide transportation for social activities and doctor’s appointments, and they will be there in an emergency like a stroke.

Home Helpers of South Shore is owned and operated by a compassionate health professional with a strong understanding of the needs of aging seniors. Contact Home Helpers to help your aging loved one. Please fill out the form on the left and we will get in touch with you about setting up in-home health care, or call us at 781-585-1244 to determine the plan that is right for you.

We serve the following communities:

Abington , Braintree , Brockton , Buzzards Bay , Carver , Cohasset, Dighton , Duxbury , Falmouth , Halifax , Hanson , Hingham , Holbrook , Hull , Humarock , Kingston , Lakeville , Marshfield , Mashpee , Middleboro , Norwell , Pembroke , Plymouth , Plympton , Quincy , Randolph , Rockland , Sandwich , Scituate , Taunton , Wareham , Weymouth , Whitman