Your dad has just suffered a stroke - 
what needs to be done immediately

You walk into the living room. Your father is holding on to the sofa, his feet weak and trying to call for you, but his speech is slurred. What do you do?

First recognize these as the symptoms of stroke. To remember the symptoms of stroke, recall the FAST test. If you believe a person is suffering from stroke, look for the following signs -

F - Face

See if the face is drooping. Ask the patient to smile. See if the smile is lopsided.

A - Arm

Test for numbness or weakness in an arm or both. Ask the person to lift their arms. See if the arms are drifting down.

S - Speech

Check for slurred speech. Ask the person to speak a sentence. See if the person is coherent.

T - Time to call for help

If the person shows these symptoms, immediately call for an ambulance or rush the person to the hospital. Remember to note down the time at which the symptoms occur. It would be of immense help to the medical team in charge of taking care of the stroke victim.

With any medical emergency, especially in the case of stroke, immediate and expert medical assistance is required for easy recovery. In the event of a near and dear one suffering from stroke symptoms, ensure the hospital that you take them to has the right credentials for emergency care. A wrong step and the recovery process for the stroke patient becomes that much more difficult.

Stroke - Types and treatments

A person suffers from stroke when blood flow to the brain is cut off because of blood clots or rupturing of an artery. The types of stroke are classified according to the reason for blood deprivation.

Ischemic stroke - The most common type of stroke (close to 85%), ischemic stroke occurs due to a blood clot in the arteries that bring blood to the brain. The treatment for ischemic stroke is through the administration of tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). This medication dissolves the clot and helps improve blood flow. But effectiveness of this treatment has a lot to do with immediate administration of tPA. Ideally, tPA needs to be given within 3 hours of the onset of symptoms In some situations, it can be given up to 4.5 hours after onset of symptoms.
Other forms of treatment include endovascular treatment, where specialist doctors are required to remove the clot with a catheter. This requires enhanced equipment to ensure the proper diagnosis of the area of the clot and specialist emergency care doctors to perform the procedure.

Endovascular treatment is available at Vikram Hospital, with a dedicated team of interventionists and stroke neurologists round the clock.

Hemorrhagic stroke - Hemorrhagic stroke occurs due to rupture or leak of a blood vessel in the brain. Most often, this occurs due to uncontrolled blood pressure. Treatment primarily revolves around immediate and optimal control of blood pressure. In some situations, there may be need for surgical intervention to decompress the brain.

Stroke has adverse effects on the physiology of a person and can also cause permanent physical damage. The only way to prevent lasting impairment is getting the person the right emergency care and FAST.


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