A stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks blood flow to a certain part of the brain, depriving the brain of oxygen. Although the condition affects a patient’s brain and neurological functions, its cause lies below, in the patient’s heart and vascular system. Suffering one of these “brain attacks” can be scary—or it can cause imperceptible symptoms that may not immediately appear to be caused by a stroke.
Recognize the Signs
Surviving a stroke—and minimizing any resulting disability—requires fast and expert medical attention. Yet most patients don’t arrive at the hospital soon enough to receive tPA, a clot-busting drug that dissolves the clot and restores blood flow to the brain. This treatment is often the first line of defense against stroke. That’s why it’s critical to recognize these signs of stroke, so that patients can seek medical attention as quickly as possible:
- A sudden loss of mobility, usually on one side of the body
- Paralysis or rigidity in the limbs, generally on one side of the body
- Loss of the ability to speak (called aphasia) or slurred speech
- Dizziness, confusion, or disorientation
- Stumbling or jerking movement
Get Immediate Care
If you believe that you’re suffering a stroke, call 911 or have someone call for you as quickly as possible. Every second that passes, more brain cells die. Meanwhile, doctors only have a short window to administer tPA. Once that time has passed, other treatment options are more limited and may require specialized intervention.
But treating a stroke doesn’t stop with dissolving that blood clot. It continues as the patient recovers. Depending on the location and severity of the stroke, patients may experience loss of function, such as mobility or speech. Therefore most patients will start therapy as soon as possible after a stroke, sometimes even while they’re still in the hospital. Patients may participate in physical, occupational, and speech therapy to help them regain function or learn to work around any disabilities.
If you have questions about stroke prevention or treatment, please contact us at Central Florida Regional Hospital. Call Consult-a-Nurse® at 1-800-445-3392 for answers to your questions and referrals to physicians in the Seminole and Volusia County area.