stroke patient and radiologist

What causes a stroke?

Having a loved one experience a stroke is heartbreaking at the very least. The event of a stroke is typically a medical wakeup call in an individual and their loved one’s lives. It is a red flag that propels further investigation into the underlying triggers that may have caused the stroke to occur in the first place. 

Evaluating exactly what a stroke is and what may have caused it, is the first step towards understanding the reality that your loved one is facing and what it means moving forward. You’ll need to consult with a team of medical professionals about what is happening with your loved one. 

However, sometimes a quick rundown on a diagnosis helps expedite your awareness and decision-making for the road ahead. 

What is a stroke?

A stroke occurs when your brain is deprived of blood flow. Brain cells begin dying within minutes when there is no oxygen in the blood. The reaction your brain experiences has a serious impact on your health, making it a medical emergency. 

Signs of a Stroke You Should Watch For

If you notice any of the following signs, you should take immediate action to assist your loved one by getting medical attention right away. Be mindful that these signs may come and go. Although they may seem to disappear, you’ll need to seek help from a qualified physician in order to prevent worsening symptoms and subsequent brain damage. 

“F.A.S.T” is the acronym to remember when looking for signs of a stroke:

F – Face – If the person tries to smile, but has one side that droops, it’s a sign of a stroke.

A – Arms – When raising their arms, one arm may drift downward or be unable to lift up at all. 

S – Speech – Test your loved one’s ability to repeat short phrases. Check for slurred or strange speech patterns.

T – Time – When any of these signs are present in your loved one, contact 911 or seek emergency help immediately. 

What Puts a Person at Higher Risk of a Stroke?

There are ways to help your loved ones prevent the onset or advancement of life-threatening strokes. Here are some contributors putting many people at increased risk of strokes:

  • High blood pressure – The greatest cause of strokes, especially when your blood pressure is 130/80 or higher.
  • Smoking tobacco – Nicotine raises blood pressure and cigarette smoke develops fatty buildup in your neck artery increasing the likelihood of blood clots.
  • Overweight and lack of exercise – weight lifting and aerobic workouts greatly reduce your probability of experiencing a stroke.
  • Age – The risk of developing a stroke increases greatly after the age of 55.
  • Medications – Certain medications may raise your chance of a stroke, such as blood thinners, hormone replacement therapy, and low-dose estrogen. 

Experiencing a stroke is traumatic for the person it directly affects along with their loved ones. If you know your loved one is at higher risk of developing a stroke, monitor them regularly according to the “F.A.S.T.” system. You may play a role in preventing serious damage by getting them the help they need most. 

South Coast Post Acute is Southern California’s Premier post-acute Partner

Better health and healing are possible with the right professional oversight and daily nutrition. At South Coast Post Acute, we deliver the services needed to restore health, regain autonomy and reduce the occurrences of rehospitalization. 

South Coast Post Acute is here for you, at any age. Our innovative care, experienced staff, and welcoming accommodations combine to bring you the high level of care you’ve come to expect from Southern California’s leading post-acute provider. 

Contact us today for more information on how we can help on your journey back to restored health.

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