A stroke can happen when there is an interruption of blood flow to the brain. Blood carries the oxygen into the brain, which the brain cells need in order to function. Without oxygen, the cells fail to function and can cause lasting damage to the brain.
There are two types of major stroke- the ischemic stroke and the hemorrhagic stroke. An ischemic stroke happens when fatty deposits or plaques that build up inside the arteries that eventually restrict blood flow. Sometimes a plaque may break off from its position and causes a blood clot to form, which can totally block the flow of blood from the affected vessels to the brain. A hemorrhagic stroke on the other hand, occurs when a weakened blood vessel in the brain ruptures. The blood begins to leak and causes pressure to build up in the brain, which can also cut off the blood flow in certain areas of the brain.
Strokes can happen quickly, with ischemic strokes more common that hemorrhagic strokes. But they also come with symptoms that you can watch out for. The American Stroke Association or ASA has provided the acronym FAST to determine the common symptoms of stroke that you need to be aware of. “F” is for Face drooping which usually happens in an event of a stroke. “A” is for Arm weakness which also associates with strokes. If it also comes with “S” or Speech difficulties, then you may need to do the “T” as is Time to call 911.
A drooping face and arm weakness is a common symptom of stroke, especially if they occur only in one side of the body. if you also suspect someone having a stroke, have them hold and squeeze your fingers using both hands. If one grasp is weaker than the other, then you might need to notify emergency services immediately.
Aside from FAST, there are also other red flags that you need to look out for in an event of a stroke. A sudden loss of vision may also be a telltale sign of a stroke. People suddenly having problems balancing or dizziness may possibly be also having a stroke. A sudden severe headache can also sometimes precede a stroke event, especially among women.