Emergency Care During a Stroke
If you think you or someone you know is having a stroke, call 911 immediately or go the closest emergency room.Find an Emergency Room
What to Do During a Stroke
Knowing what to do during a stroke is important because a stroke is a medical emergency and can be fatal if not treated quickly.
Recognizing the signs of a stroke and taking action can minimize brain damage and reduce disability. The quicker you act, the better the outcome.
Taking the necessary steps helps ensure that you or someone else gets the medical attention they need quickly. This could save someone's life or improve their recover. This could be the difference between life and death.
Learn more about Stroke care at CHRISTUS
What Happens to the Brain During a Stroke?
When a stroke occurs, the human brain is deprived of oxygen leading to widespread damage and death of neurons. This can have a wide range of effects depending on where in the brain the stroke occurred.
Strokes are characterized by diminished motor control, speech impairments, memory loss, or confusion. Depending on how severe and long-lasting the damage is, the effects of a stroke can vary from person to person.
Long-term complications include paralysis, coordination, and loss of balance difficulties, difficulty speaking or swallowing, and impaired thinking may occur.
What to do During a Stroke?
If you or someone you know is having a stroke, it’s important to get medical attention as soon as possible. Call 911 right away and describe your symptoms so that you can receive the best care available.
There are several actions you can take while waiting for help to arrive:
Get Medical Help from Emergency Services Right Away
Getting medical help or emergency services right away when someone is having a stroke is important for several reasons. Prompt action can mean the difference between life and death. It can also help reduce the risk of long-term disability from stroke complications.
Timely medical attention can minimize brain damage by ensuring that enough blood supply reaches the affected areas of the brain. This helps to preserve essential brain functions.
Acting quickly during a stroke is important because time lost is brain lost. When a person experiences a stroke, the blood supply to an area of the brain is blocked or reduced.
This means that the affected part of the brain does not receive oxygen and nutrients. This causes neurons in that area to die. The longer it takes for treatment to be administered, the more brain injury cells are lost. This causes a full recovery to be less likely.
This can lead to long-term physical, cognitive, and emotional complications. This includes paralysis, difficulty speaking or understanding language, memory loss, depression, and anxiety.
Monitor the Conditions and Stay in Contact with the 911 operator Until Help Arrives
During a stroke, one’s physical or mental functioning can rapidly decline without prompt medical attention. A caregiver or family member can observe the patient for any more symptoms the person is experiencing. This can include sudden weakness, dizziness, confusion, or difficulty speaking.
Early detection of stroke symptoms can make all the difference in reducing the chances of lasting damage or death.
Staying in contact with a 911 operator during a stroke is important. This allows the operator to provide you with step-by-step instructions. They also give valuable advice on how best to take care of yourself or the affected individual.
Stay Calm and Find a Comfortable Position if Possible
Staying calm during a stroke is essential because it can help with the assessment and treatment of the situation. It can also help reduce stress levels, which can help improve the body’s ability to heal itself after a stroke.
Panic can exacerbate your symptoms, making them worse than they already are.
Reassure the patient that help is on the way to help them treat their stroke.
Record the Time When Symptoms First Appeared
This can be helpful for medical personnel to determine possible treatments.
Prompt treatment can lessen a stroke’s severity and help reduce long-term complications.
Without this information, doctors may be unable to provide timely interventions that can prevent or minimize tissue damage from the stroke.
Timely diagnosis and treatment are key to helping a patient recover as quickly and completely as possible.
If Conscious, Sit or Lie Down in a Comfortable Position and Loosen Tight Clothing
This helps reduce the risk of further injury that might be caused by attempting to walk or stand during an episode.
This position can make it easier for medical personnel to check the patient’s vital signs or begin treatment.
It can help reduce further injury due to the patient’s muscle stiffness that often occurs during a stroke.
Loosening tight clothing will also make it easier for medical personnel to assess the person’s condition.
If the person is not conscious, be prepared to start rescue breathing or CPR if necessary. Do not move them and wait for paramedics to arrive.
CPR is important if a person is unconscious when having a stroke. This helps keep the brain and other organs supplied with oxygenated blood.
This helps to prevent further damage from occurring.
Providing CPR can be life-saving for an individual in distress who has stopped breathing or whose heart has stopped beating.
A person giving CPR can help to restore the natural flow of oxygenated blood throughout the body.
This reduces the long-term effects of a stroke by lessening damage to the brain due to a lack of oxygen.