I keep going through the day my husband had a stroke over and over in my mind almost every day. My husband had a bad headache...that was the first symptom that I didn't recognize. Then, he asked me to help him to the bathroom...he leaned on me...second clue. Last, I noticed his speech was kind of slurred...third clue. It was my husbands payday and I thought he had been drinking and that's why he had the slurred speech. I never paid attention to the commercials and magazine ads about someone who is having a stroke. I blame myself for not recognizing the clues and not getting him to the hospital in a timely manner.
Stroke symptoms typically develop rapidly (seconds to minutes).
Pre-hospital care professionals will typically want to identify stroke risk very rapidly. If they suspect a stroke, they will typically use the FAST test to assess likelihood:
Face - look to see if there is any drooping or loss of muscle tone on the face
Arm - ask the patient to close their eyes and hold both arms out straight for 30 seconds - in a patient with a stroke, you might see one arm tending to slowly move down
Speech - listen to see if you can hear any slurring of the speech not otherwise explained (e.g. alcohol) and see if they can answer simple questions (where are you?, what's your name?, what day of the week is it?)
Test all three - given that any one of the four signs might be present, all three have to be tested (and documented) .
Given the disease burden of stroke, prevention is an important public health concern.
I didn't know anything about strokes before I had mine, two years ago at just past my 51st birthday! I always thought that only old people had strokes and certainly the NHS locally is set up for the over 65's, there's no information available for younger people who've had strokes.
I'd like to see a big publicity campaign on TV advising people what the general symptoms of stroke are and what you should do about it. At the same time the generalpublic needs to be aware not only of the signs & symptoms of stroke in people of all ages, but also the likely affects it can have on a person, their family and general lifestyle.