Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/First aid/Stroke
A stroke is caused by an interruption of the arterial blood supply to a portion of the brain. This interruption may be caused by hardening of the arteries or by a clot forming in the brain. Tissue damage and loss of function result. Onset of a stroke is sudden, with little or no warning. The first signs include weakness or paralysis on the side of the body opposite the side of the brain that has been injured. Muscles of the face on the affected side may be involved. The patient’s level of consciousness varies from alert to unresponsive. Additionally, motor functions - including vision and speech - on the affected side are disturbed, and the throat may be paralyzed.
If you think a person has suffered a stroke, do the following:
- Ask the victim to smile.
- Ask the victim to raise both hands over his head.
- Ask the victim to repeat a simple sentence.
Inability to do any of these three things means the victim may have had a stroke. First aid for a stroke is mainly supportive. Special attention must be paid to the victim’s airway, since he may not be able to keep it clear.
- Call 911
- Place the victim in a semi-reclining position or on the paralyzed side.
- Act in a calm, reassuring manner, and keep any onlookers quiet since the victim may be able to hear what is going on.
- Carefully monitor the victim’s vital signs and keep a log. Pay special attention to respirations, and pulse strength and rate (take the pulse in the neck).