Although times are tough for everyone at the moment, we need to remember a stroke can occur at any time, to anyone. Throughout the current COVID-19 pandemic, a stroke will still happen every 5 minutes.
Each year, May has been Stroke Awareness Month, with nationwide charities, organisations and individuals boosting the awareness of the effects a stroke can have and help more people spot the signs. This year will be no different as we are continuing to share advice and information so we can all be prepared.
Last week, we discussed what a stroke is and its varying types and this week, we want to teach or remind you of how you can spot the signs of a stroke and its potential effects afterwards.
The FAST test is 4 steps which help you to spot the most common signs of a stroke:
FACE – has their face fallen to one side? Are they able to smile?
ARMS – can they lift both arms and hold them there?
SPEECH – is there speech slurred? Can they talk clearly?
TIME – call 999 for emergency medical help
Other symptoms of a stroke can include sudden weakness on one side of the body, difficulty in speaking in clear sentences, blurred vision or sight loss, sudden memory loss or confusion, dizziness or a sudden severe headache.
A stroke is a medical emergency; if the symptoms last a short amount of time, it could be a mini-stroke (transient ischaemic attack) which indicates there is an increased risk to a stroke.
A stroke can affect anyone, at any time, at any age. It can affect people differently, with some people having a speedier recovery time with minor after-effects when compared to others who have more severe problems.
The most common effects of a stroke are:
- Weakness or stiffness in some muscles or the loss of muscle control
- Sensory problems with vision, taste and sense of smell
- Difficulty to swallow
- Continence issues with bladder or bowels
- May experience seizures
- Pain in muscles and joints
- Difficulty with speaking, reading, writing or understanding others
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Emotional and mental health changes
Not everyone who has a stroke will experience the above effects, and recovery or managing the effects will differ for everyone. Doctors and stroke specialists will provide a management plan for coping with any after-effect.
At Heritage Healthcare, our care team are trained to support individuals who have experienced a stroke. We aim to help them to feel independent on their road to recovery and to support them in any way to stay living at home for longer.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are ensuring clients are safe within their own home, with our care team taking every precaution necessary to prevent the spread of the virus.
Further information about the Stroke Association can be found on the website here.