If you’re like many women, chances are you go to great lengths not to burden those around you. But the signs of stroke demand immediate attention, even if it seems like the worst possible timing.
Shermane Winters-Wofford remembers the symptoms of her stroke like it was yesterday. On a first date at a nice restaurant, she was all butterflies and excitement. But as soon as Shermane and her date were seated at the table, she began sweating and her chest tightened as though her heart were in a vice. This wasn’t just first-date jitters.
“I was so scared,” she says. “I was scared and anxious at the same time. I was completely ignorant to what was going on. I didn’t understand it.”
When her vision began to blur and she was unable to lift her arm, Shermane’s date offered to take her to the hospital. But she didn’t want to be any trouble.
Less than an hour later, she went to the emergency room and learned she had suffered a stroke. Like many women, Shermane had always considered herself perfectly healthy and didn’t take the time to learn the warning signs. By ignoring them, she could have lost her life.
Signs that you may be having a stroke:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- Sudden trouble seeing or blurred vision in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
You should never wait more than five minutes to dial 9-1-1 if you experience even one of the signs above. Remember, you could be having a stroke even if you’re not experiencing all of the symptoms. And remember to check the time. The responding emergency medical technician or ER nurse at the hospital will need to know when the first symptom occurred.
Stroke is not only the No. 4 cause of death in the United States, it’s also a leading cause of severe, long-term disability. That’s why it’s important to take action immediately. Research conducted by The American Stroke Association shows that patients who take a clot-busting drug, or thrombolytic, within three hours of their first stroke symptom can reduce long-term disability from ischemic stroke – the most common type, accounting for about 87 percent of all cases.
When you know the signs of stroke, the life you save could be your own or someone else’s – as was the case with Shermane’s attentive date. Learn to spot the signs of stroke, or spot a stroke F.A.S.T. (Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 911) with the help of our mobile app for iphone/ipad. Your life is in your hands!