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Am I Having a Stroke? Symptoms and What to Do

A stroke is a serious medical emergency that requires immediate action. The treatment for a stroke depends entirely on the type of stroke that has occurred, the severity, age and general health, and how soon medical attention was delivered. That’s why it’s important to know the signs of a stroke and what to do in the event that you believe you or someone with you is having one.

What is a Stroke?

A stroke occurs when the any part of the brain does not receive blood[i]. This can damage the brain cells that are in that part of the brain, risking permanent damage. The effects of this damage vary depending on which part of the brain was affected and how much damage was done.

The different kinds of stroke are:

  • Ischemic stroke
  • Hemorrhagic stroke
  • Transient ischemic attack (TIA)

In Canada, a survey done in 2012/2013 revealed that over 740,000 people over age 20 had had a stroke at some point in their lives and were living with the damage[ii]. According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, eight in ten cases of premature heart disease and stroke cases are preventable through healthy lifestyle behaviours[iii]. To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of a stroke, visit the Heart and Stroke website or speak with a member of your health team, such as your pharmacist, today.

[i] Stroke (n.d.). heartandstroke.ca (Website). Retrieved from heartandstroke.ca/stroke.

[ii] Stroke in Canada (n.d.). Government of Canada (Website). Retrieved from www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/diseases-conditions/stroke-in-canada.html.

[iii] Get Healthy (n.d.). heartandstroke.ca/ (Website). Retrieved from heartandstroke.ca/get-healthy

What Are the Symptoms? 

You may be able to determine if you or someone else is having a stroke by remembering FAST[i]. This acronym stands for Face, Arms, Speech, and Time.

Face

First, have someone examine your face or use a mirror to look for signs of drooping. Smiling is a very effective way.

Arms

Next, try to raise both of your arms. During a stroke, it is very difficult or impossible to fully raise both arms above the head.

Speech

Listen to your speech or ask the other person to speak. Does it sound slurred? Are words jumbled up? This is one of the reasons why it’s important to understand the signs of a stroke. The victim may not always be able to verbally express that they are in need of help.

Time

Any one of these symptoms—Face, Arms, or Speech—is concerning and means you need to move to T: Time. Call 911 or your number for emergency services right away because you or the person you are with is likely having a stroke. Do your best to remain calm and answer the operator’s questions as clearly as you can. Take the time to speak slowly if you need to. Emergency service operators are trained to understand when someone is in need of help, even if they cannot express it, and they will send assistance to you as soon as they can.

[i] Signs of Stroke (n.d.). heartandstroke.ca (Website). Retrieved from heartandstroke.ca/stroke/signs-of-stroke.

What to Do When Someone is Having a Stroke

When someone is having a stroke, it’s important that you take action immediately. Help the person sit or lie down so they don’t fall and injure themselves. Once they are safe, call 911 and tell them that you need emergency medical services and your situation in detail. The operator will likely ask you to look for FAST signs, so be ready to do so and remain as calm as possible.

Preventing a Stroke

There are a number of things you can do to prevent a stroke.[i] First, maintain a healthy blood pressure. Exercise regularly, and eat a healthy, balanced diet. It also helps if you stop smoking cigarettes and using other tobacco products.

Here at Kenron Compounding Pharmacy, we offer a number of healthy supplements and other products to help you remain physically healthy. We aim to assist everyone to maintain a happy and healthy life, no matter what challenges they may face. You can learn more about what we offer on our website and blog, plus you can visit us at our Calgary pharmacy in person for more.

[i] Stroke in Canada (n.d.). Government of Canada (Website). Retrieved from www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/diseases-conditions/stroke-in-canada.html.

In Canada, a survey done in 2012/2013 revealed that over 740,000 people over age 20 had had a stroke at some point in their lives and were living with the damage.

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