Want to Help Stroke Patients?
Stroke is a debilitating and disfiguring condition attacking more than 700000 Americans today. It is caused by a clot or broken blood vessel in the brain which cuts off oxygen to the brain. The longer the brain is starved of oxygen, the greater is the chance of damage and lesser the chance for complete recovery. So time is a vital component to the recovery of a stroke victim.
Two types of Stroke
There are two types of stroke that can occur. Before a stroke victim can undergo treatment, it has to be determined if the stroke is a hemorrhagic stroke or a non-hemorrhagic stroke also known as ischemic stroke. Hemorrhagic stroke is caused by internal bleeding in the brain and has a different course of treatment as opposed to an ischemic stroke which may be caused by a clot in one of the arteries in the brain.
Stroke can be a sudden attack with an onset of difficulty in speaking, numbness to one or both sides of the body. Sudden dizziness or severe headache, blurred vision, loss of co-ordination and balance are all symptoms of stroke and should immediately be reported to a physician.
The acronym FAST was developed to help people remember the test to determine if a person is having a stroke. When a person is suspected of having a stroke this test is easy to remember and can save the life of the stroke victim. FAST stands for:
- Facial weakness: Ask the person to smile and check the facial symmetry of the person. A normal person will have bilateral symmetry, that is, both sides of the face will be symmetrical. One side of the face of a stroke victim will appear to be drooping when compared to the other.
- Arm weakness: The person should be asked to raise his or her arms simultaneously to the shoulder level without any difficulty. A stroke victim will be unable to raise the arm of the affected side.
- Speech difficulty: Ask the person to state his or her name and watch for slurring of speech.
- Time to act: Call 911 immediately if the person was positive for one or all of the above.
There are many risk factors which can lead to stroke in people such as:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol
- Previous stroke
- Family history of stroke
- Age over 50
Treatment and Management
If the stroke is a hemorrhagic stroke, then the patient will have to undergo surgery to stop the bleeding or to repair the ruptured artery. If the stroke is an ischemic stroke, then medications to dissolve the clot will be administered to the patient. Time is a very important factor for treatment and the hospital is required to start the treatment before three hours from start of the stroke for effective recovery.
There are many online courses and certifications available to help you be prepared in an emergency involving a stroke victim who could be anyone from your loved one to a stranger at the mall. You can be proactive and help save a life by enrolling in one or more of the courses below:
- Stroke Prehospital Care Online Course is for people and medical professionals out of the hospital who would like to be trained in recognizing the different types of strokes and also to detect it outside the hospital setting. This course also offers extensive training about the pathophysiology of stroke, the risk factors for stroke and how to manage stroke in a person.
- Acute Stroke Online Course is for professionals who work both in the hospital and out of the hospital setting. This course offers training for recognizing and managing the two types of stroke to prevent any potential complications. This course is also tailored to meet the standards of JCAHO requirements.
- Basic Life Support (BLS) trains the students in basic steps of administering Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and how to use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) to help start the heart beating again.
- Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) programs give training to qualified professionals on how to manage a patient undergoing cardiac arrest.
- Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) program trains healthcare professionals on how to provide care in emergency situations involving children.