Stroke is a medical emergency, which if treated within the window period of 4 hours can result in near-complete resolution of the condition. Currently, most of the hospitals have come across several instances of stroke patients and relatives seeking medical attention very late. This is leading to complications, prolonged stay in ICU and delayed recovery. Apart from lack of transport in the lockdown period, fear of COVID-19 infection is one of the main reasons for a delay in seeking treatment.
Fear of COVID-19 virus should not deter you or anyone from seeking treatment for non-COVID acute medical and surgical emergencies. Also, instructions to stay-at-home do not apply for people suffering from any medical emergency, including signs of a stroke.
When it comes to treatment of stroke, every minute matters. Studies suggest two million brain cells die every minute if blood flow is not restored immediately.
What is a Stroke?
Stroke is a neurological condition where a patient develops weakness of one half of the body, slurred speech or sudden loss of consciousness.
There are two forms of Stroke:
- Ischemic Stroke is a condition where blood flow to a part of the brain is blocked.
- Haemorrhagic Stroke is a condition where blood leaks out of the blood vessels of the brain, following the rupture of blood vessels.
What are the common symptoms of a Stroke?
- SUDDEN weakness or numbness of arm, leg or face – especially on one side of the body.
- SUDDEN confusion, trouble understanding or speaking.
- SUDDEN trouble seeing in both or one eyes.
- SUDDEN dizziness, trouble walking, loss of balance or coordination.
- SUDDEN severe headache with no known cause.
Symptoms unique to men
- Numbness, weakness in the face, leg or arm – especially on one side of the body
- Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- Loss of balance or unstable walking
- Sudden loss of vision or dimming, in one or both eyes
- Sudden, severe headache
Symptoms unique to women
Women may report symptoms that are often not linked to strokes in men. These include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Difficulty in breathing
- Fainting or loss of consciousness
- Unresponsiveness, confusion, disorientation, or hallucination
- General weakness
- Severe headache
How to identify a patient of Stroke?
The FAST acronym is useful to identify Stroke:
- Face Drooping — Is one side of the face numb or drooping? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?
- Arm Weakness — Is one arm numb or weak? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- Speech Difficulty — Is speech slurred?
- Time to call Apollo Emergency — If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, dial 1066 Apollo Emergency and get the person to the nearest Apollo Hospitals immediately. Check the time to know when the first symptoms appeared.
What are the risk factors for Stroke?
Common risk factors include:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol
- A family history of Stroke
- Elderly age (i.e. above 65 years of age)
How to reduce the risk of Stroke?
To reduce your risk of stroke:
- Monitor blood pressure
- Track your cholesterol level
- Stop smoking
- Exercise regularly
- Consult your doctor regularly and promptly for any health concern
Annual health checks go a long way in early detection and reversal of risk factors.
Do not ignore stroke symptoms, because the longer the brain is without oxygen, the higher are the chances for disability or death during a stroke. If you or your loved one is experiencing the symptoms of stroke, dial 1066 Apollo Emergency Services or visit the nearest Apollo Hospitals, immediately.
Apollo Hospitals are well-equipped to treat Stroke emergencies and are manned by stroke physicians and nurses round-the-clock to take care of stroke patients even at the time of COVID-19 crisis.
Apollo Hospitals follows stringent patient-safety precautions inside the hospitals to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection. Your life matters. If you or your loved ones have stroke symptoms, dial 1066, Apollo Hospitals emergency helpline or rush to the nearest Apollo Hospitals because we know how to save you and can do so very rapidly and effectively.