Learn to recognize them and act quickly
Every year thousands of Canadians experience a stroke but only 20 to 25 percent of these stroke victims get the emergency care they need because of their failure to recognize warning signs and symptoms of a stroke.
Stroke is a medical emergency and it can be treated. Patients whose stroke is caused by an interruption of the blood supply to the brain (blood clot) can be treated with a clot-busting drug called tPA, but such medicines should be given within three hours of the onset of symptoms. Other types of strokes may require immediate surgery to prevent serious disability or death.
The five warning symptoms of a stroke are:
- Sudden weakness or numbness of the arms, legs, or face, especially on one side
- Sudden vision problem in one or both eyes, possibly temporary
- Sudden dizziness, loss of balance or coordination, or difficulty walking
- Sudden difficulty speaking or understanding or sudden confusion, possibly temporary
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
If you experience any of these symptoms:
- Call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number immediately
- Stop all activity and sit or lie down, whichever is most comfortable
- Wait for the ambulance to arrive
Promptly recognizing stroke warning signs and seeking immediate emergency care can mean the difference between life and death or disability.