Because of how quickly a stroke can cause brain damage — literally within minutes — getting to a hospital as soon as possible can make all the difference when it comes to survival and recovery.
EmpowHER describes a stroke as a brain injury. It occurs when the brain's blood supply is interrupted. Without oxygen and nutrients from blood, brain tissue dies quickly, in less than 10 minutes. This causes a sudden loss of function.
The Stroke Association advises that if a person is exhibiting certain signs, they need immediate help.
They call it FAST:
F - Face Drooping
A - Arm Weakness
S - Speech Difficulty
T - Time to Call 911
If these symptoms occur, medical help is imperative. The Stroke Association also says to look for :
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the leg, arm or face
- Sudden confusion or trouble understanding
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
So what happens to the brain in the first 24 hours of a stroke? The patient needs to be rushed to the ER where doctors can evaluate the kind of stroke a patient has had.
Caring.com describes the two kinds of strokes well:
“Strokes are categorized as either ischemic or hemorrhagic. Ischemic strokes (also called white strokes) occur when a blood vessel to the brain is blocked, preventing blood from flowing to part of the brain. Hemorrhagic strokes (also called red strokes) are caused by a broken or torn blood vessel bleeding into or around the brain.”
Treatment will subsequently depend on the kind of stroke. The right drugs will be used to help contain damage, and the sooner they are administered the better, for long-term recovery.
Physical therapy (rehab) can also start within 24 hours of stroke. This may seem really fast but again, the sooner rehab starts, the better.