What is the first aid for a stroke patient?

Prompt management of stroke can minimize the neuronal damage associated with ischemia and increase the chances of survival of the patient. Time is, therefore, of the essence in stroke. Experts and Neurologist in Lahore recommend watching out for the warning signs of stroke, and calling the emergency services immediately thereafter.

Read on to know what you should do immediately if you observe someone having a stroke:

What are the signs of stroke?

Stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is decreased or blocked altogether. The signs and symptoms of stroke can vary according to the severity of ischemia.The warning signs of stroke, however, can be recognized through the acronym of the National Stroke Association:FAST.

F: is for the face, which can droop to one side or be numb.

A: is for the weakness of the arm when both are raised together. This weakness would mean one arm is lower than the other.

S:is for slurring of speech as a result of ischemia.

T:is for time to call for help if the aforementioned check-list is positive.

Other symptoms include: weakness in the leg, which is mostly unilateral, blurring of vision in one eye, sudden fall or unsteadiness in gait and severe headache with no apparent cause.

What to do when you observe someone having a stroke?

When you are sure someone is having a stroke, do not leave them unattended when calling for help. For a non-medical individual, the hardest part is recognizing the signs of stroke, but once recognized, their only job is to call for help, timely.

Once help is on the way, make a note of the time of onset of first symptom. As mentioned before, time is of great importance when it comes to stroke. The reason is that drug for stroke, which can potentially reverse the symptoms, or stop the progression of stroke can be given only within 4.5 hours from the appearance of first symptom. This drug is called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), which is great medication for bursting clots.

Making a note of the time of onset of symptoms allows the healthcare providers to make an informed decision about administration of tPAs.

Stroke can result in loss of consciousness. If you see someone who is unconscious and not breathing or doesn’t have a heartbeat, administer CPR. If need be, ask the operator of the emergency services to guide you through it. American Heart Association recommends steady, repeated chest compressions if the patient is not breathing. CPR can be life-saving until the ambulance arrives.

What not to do when someone is having a stroke?

Patients of stroke should not be allowed to go to sleep even though such patients can feel very sleepy. The patient should be brought immediately to the emergency room so medication can be administered.

Do not administer any medication to the patient on your own. Many people assume that aspirin is the only drug that should be given to the stroke patients. However, aspirin treats only ischemic stroke and in fact is contraindicated for hemorrhagic stroke. So, to be on the safe side, do not give any drugs to the patient.

Stroke onset is often preceded by warning signs which are known as transient ischemic attack which are known as ‘mini-strokes’. TIAs last for a few minutes only and herald the onset of stroke. If someone has TIAs, they should book an immediate appointment with Neurologist in Karachi so their workup can be done.