Strokes and their Symptoms: What Louisiana Needs to Know

Strokes and their Symptoms



Did you know that strokes are a form of disease?


Strokes affect arteries within and leading to the brain and those that lead to it. In Louisiana, they are one of the top causes of death and disability.


One more scary fact: A stroke can happen to anyone.


Okay. That’s the bad news. Here’s the good news. You can learn the signs of stroke below. Some knowledge may one day save your life—or the life of a friend or family member.


What is a Stroke?

A stroke happens when a blood vessel carrying oxygen and nutrients to the brain either bursts (a hemorrhagic stroke) or its passage is stopped by a clot (an ischemic stroke). Brain cells die when deprived of the blood and oxygen they need,and if blood flow is blocked for too long, bodily functions associated with those obstructed areas can cease to function properly.


Signs of Stroke

Knowing what to look for can go a long way in saving someone’s life. The sooner you react, the better the stroke sufferer’s chances. Fortunately, there is an easy acronym to remember so you can always recall the signs of a stroke: F.A.S.T.

  • Face Drooping – Is one side of the face numb? Does it seem uneven? If it’s hard to tell, ask the person to smile.
  • Arm Weakness – Ask the person to lift both arms up. If one arm is too weak, numb, or begins to drift down, that’s another sign of a stroke.
  • Speech Difficulty – Slurred speech is an obvious giveaway. Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence like "The cat says "meow.” If the person slurs their words, can’t speak, or finds it hard to understand, that, too is an indication.
  • Time to call 9-1-1 – If someone is exhibiting any of these symptoms, call 9.1.1. If the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1. Take the person to the hospital right away. Don’t wait. Be proactive. Note the time that the symptoms occurred so you can tell hospital staff.

While these aren’t the only signs of a stroke, they are among the most common. Other lesser known signs of stroke include sudden confusion, difficulty seeing out of one or both eyes, or even trouble walking. They could experience dizziness, possess a loss of balance, or have a severe headache.

The Next Step

As with the symptoms above, if anyone exhibits even one of these other symptoms, don’t wait a moment. Take them immediately to the hospital and dial 9-1-1.

Remember—the biggest problem with stroke treatment is reaction time. Learn the signs and act quickly. Come to Slidell Memorial Hospital for an evaluation. SMH is an award-winning hospital that’s close to home.