The most important aspect of stroke care is that the stroke patient arrive at the hospital FAST. Neurologists recommend getting to a stroke center within 3 hours of the onset of stroke symptoms.There are new drugs available today that can dramatically reduce the negative impact of stroke. One such drug is Alteplase or tPA which can be given if the stroke patient meets the basic criteria; this drug has the potential to reverse all stroke symptoms. But, it must be given within 3 hours of symptom onset.
Remember to think FAST when you see stroke:
Recognize and treat stroke as an emergency.
ACT FAST - dial 9-1-1 immediately and tell the dispatcher you think it may be a stroke. Also, make note of the last time that person seemed to be acting normal, because that probably marks the onset of stroke symptoms. You will be asked this important question later at the hospital.
RECOGNIZING A STROKE
Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke.
You can help recognize a stroke by asking three questions:
S * Ask the individual to smile.
T * Ask the person to talk and speak a simple sentence. For example, it is a sunny day.
R * Ask him or her to raise both arms.
Another sign of a stroke is to ask the person to 'stick' out their tongue. If the tongue is crooked (if it goes to one side or the other), that can also be an indication of a stroke.
If he or she has trouble with any one of these tasks, call 9-1-1 immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.