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How to assist a stroke victim
Posted on Aug 26, 2015
There is a strong consensus among the medical experts that the first couple of minutes are the most critical when a person suffers from a stroke. If during this time, anyone who is with the affected individual seeks medical assistance immediately, life-threatening complications could be averted.

First of all, there is a need for the people around the stroke victim to actually identify that he/she is suffering from a stroke. The next step is to rush him or her to the nearest medical centre for treatment and care. Here’s some information that will help you understand what happens when someone is having a stroke, along with ways in which you can help a person who is having a stroke.

How to Recognize a Stroke Victim
You may not possess a medical background but that doesn’t mean that you should distance yourself if you ever happen to witness a stroke victim.

According to medical professionals, the absence of a medical background is not at all a handicap when it comes to recognizing a stroke victim. Here’s some information on what a victim would be possibly going through when he/she is suffering from a stroke.
  • A sudden feeling of numbness or a tingling sensation, especially along one side of the body
  • Difficulty while walking
  • A sense of losing consciousness
  • A general lack of coordination
  • A sudden inability to see through one or both eyes
  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion
  • Onset of severe headaches

Due to these physical, as well as mental symptoms, the affected individual is extremely vulnerable and highly dependent on those around him/her. Thus, having the knowledge about the signs of a stroke, and ability to recognize a person who may be having a stroke, can truly prove beneficial.

Helping a Stroke Victim
If the family members or even bystanders are able to recognize or identify a stroke victim, they would be able to arrange for medical assistance on time. Timely medical assistance is very crucial and truly life-saving at this time. Given below are some tips on how to help a person who might be having a stroke.
  • If you suspect that a person may be having a stroke, you should ask him/her to smile. See if one side of the face is sagging.
  • Ask the victim to respond to a simple question or to speak a sentence coherently. Unintelligible or slurred speech could be a possible stroke indicator.
  • Request the victim to raise his arms and check if either arm is drooping off towards the side.
  • Any difficulty in understanding or responding to any one of the above should be immediately identified as an indication of possible stroke. Medical emergency number must be dialled immediately so that the victim is medically attended to.
  • The person who attends to your emergency call may give you a few quick instructions on how to care for the victim till aid arrives.
  • It would be an added advantage if those helping a stroke victim know how to perform CPR. CPR stands for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation. It is an emergency procedure that is performed on a person who doesn’t have a pulse and is not breathing.
  • If possible, check the victim’s breathing and reduce the blood pressure on the victim’s brain by ensuring that while laying down the victim, his/her head and shoulders are slightly elevated.
  • Another option is to lay the stroke victim on his side, with the chin extended. This is to ensure that secretions from the mouth can easily flow out. This lowers the risk of the victim choking on the secretions or any consequent obstruction to breathing.
  • Do not give the stroke victims anything to eat or drink as this could cause them to choke.
  • Communicate with the victim and assure him/her that all would be well and help is on its way.

Ways to Help a Stroke Victim
Communicate A stroke could result in problems in the patient’s vision, memory, or slurred speech. In order to help a stroke victim recover, you must provide all types of assistance and be able to understand and communicate properly. Stroke victims may have a problem in communicating. It is essential that those around them must try to understand what they wish to say. Here’s some information on some of the popular tools, which can help a stroke victim communicate, and also help others to understand what the victim is trying to say.
  • The communication board is a popular tool. A basic communication board comprises all the letters, commonly used words and basic pictures. The stroke victim simply points to the letters, words, or pictures and those around the victim can arrange them to form a coherent view of what the patient is trying to tell them.
  • Depending on the extent and type of damage, even an attempt at teaching basic sign language to the victims and its interpretation to their family and friends is also an option.

Lastly, absence of timely medical assistance can give rise to life-threatening situations, which is why there is a great need to create awareness on ways in which one can help a stroke victim. If any of the family members or even a bystander, is able to recognize the warning signs of a stroke, he/she can seek medical assistance and prevent irreversible brain damage or any life-threatening complications from arising. Stroke is a serious medical condition that can be prevented by making certain lifestyle-related changes. Quitting smoking and refraining from excessive consumption of alcohol can certainly lower the risk. Making the right lifestyle choices will not only prevent a recurrence, but also improve the quality of life. So, follow a healthy diet and stay physically active.
Written by : Lazoi Team
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