Think ‘fast’ to help save a life

2017-11-01 06:00

WOULD you recognise if someone is having a stroke? Every hour, 10 people in South Africa suffer a stroke, according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa.

World Stroke Day was commemorated October 29 to raise awareness of the symptoms of a stroke so that the person can get help as soon as possible – there is a three-hour window .

A stroke occurs when the supply of oxygenated blood to part of the brain is disrupted either due to a burst blood vessel or a blood clot. Strokes may range in severity from so-called “mini strokes”, which may have only temporary effects, to life-changing disability or even death.

While stroke symptoms can differ there are a number of common signs of stroke that are generally recognisable.

When it comes to a possible case of stroke, think “fast” and apply the following the acronym fast:

• F for “face drooping” - facial muscles are weak, often causing one side of the face to droop.

• A for “arm or leg weakness” - ask the person to lift both arms up and keep them up - the person may feel weak in one or both of their arms or legs, and may feel numb on one side of their body.

• S for “speech difficulty” - the person may slur words, use words incorrectly or not be able to speak.

• T - make a careful note of the time of the onset of symptoms, and call for help urgently.

Medical help is most important within the first few hours after a stroke. It is important to remember that time lost is brain function lost. The faster you get the affected person to a hospital the better their chances of survival and recovery.

The Heart Foundation lists these numbers if information on emergency medical help is needed - 112 if calling from a cellphone and 10177 if calling from a landline.

For further information on recovery modes and rehabilitation check the website or sastrokesociety.

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