If your loved one suffered a stroke, could you recognize it quickly? Would you know what to do? Seniors are at increased risk of stroke simply because of their age, but additional factors may increase a senior’s risk. How much do you know about stroke in seniors?
Must-Have Information About Stroke Warning Signs & Symptoms in Seniors
If you have a parent or loved one in your life, then make sure you’re familiar with this important information on stroke.
What Is Stroke?
A stroke is a medical emergency in which blood can’t reach the brain. It occurs when a blood vessel is either blocked by a clot or bursts. The blood vessel, which normally carries oxygen to the brain, cannot do its job, and without oxygen, brain cells begin to die. Quickly getting a stroke victim medical help can help to minimize the damage that results from a stroke.
The Risk Factors for Stroke
There are many factors which can increase a senior’s risk of having a stroke. According to the American Stroke Association, the likeliness of having a stroke almost doubles every ten years after a person reaches age 55. Women are also more likely to have strokes than men, and strokes kill more women than men. African Americans also have a higher risk of dying from a stroke than Caucasians do.
While some of these factors are beyond our control, there are other risk factors that we can change in order to minimize the risk of a stroke. Physical issues, like high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity, need to be controlled in order to minimize stroke risk. A poor diet, such as one high in saturated fat and cholesterol, is a stroke risk factor. Cigarette smoking can also greatly increase the risk of stroke.
Top Signs of Stroke in Seniors
There are three common signs of stroke that you should be able to recognize, and they’re easy to remember by using the word “FAST.”
F – Face drooping. One side of the face may droop or be numb. If the person smiles, their smile may be uneven.
A – Arm weakness. Ask the person to raise both arms. One arm may droop or drift down due to weakness.
S – Speech difficulty. A stroke victim’s speech may be slurred, and they may be unable to repeat simple words.
T – Time to call 911. If you notice any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately and tell them that you think the person is having a stroke.
The FAST method of remembering stroke systems covers the major symptoms, but there are some other symptoms of stroke that you should also be aware of. Keep an eye out for:
- Sudden numbness, especially if it occurs on only one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, such as trouble understanding conversation or speaking
- Sudden vision problems and difficulty seeing
- Sudden trouble walking, including dizziness or a loss of balance
- Sudden severe headache that is unprompted and unexplained
What You Need to Do
If you notice these symptoms, you need to call 911 immediately and get the victim help right away. If a stroke victim receives medical treatment promptly, it can help to minimize the long-term effects of the stroke and may help to save their life.
When you call 911, try to note when the stroke symptoms first occurred. The dispatcher will provide you with instructions until the paramedics arrive.
Keeping Seniors Safe
Being able to recognize the signs of stroke in seniors is just one of the ways that you can keep your loved one safe. If a senior has multiple risk factors for stroke that can be controlled, encourage them to make changes to reduce their risk. You just may help to save their life.
Need help keeping an aging loved one safe in their home? Cahoon Care can help. We offer senior caregiving services ranging from just 4 hours a week all the way up to 24-hour care. To speak with an elder care expert today, call 781-659-1877 or visit us online to learn more.