A Stroke Can Sometimes Be Detected as Early as a Week Before the Stroke Occurs: Here’s How to Act “Fast” and What You Need to Do

OurSeniors.net-A Stroke Can Sometimes Be Detected as Early as a Week Before the Stroke Occurs: Here’s How to Act “Fast” and What You Need to Do

800,000 people every year have a stroke and the unfortunate truth is that at least 185,000 people that do have a stroke may have another stroke at some point over the next five years. While this type of event isn’t the number one cause of death, it is the fifth leading cause of not just death but disability as well. The most concerning aspect to consider about stroke risk is that around 80% of them are preventable. 

If the prevention rate is this high, why is it that over 140,000 people die from them or suffer a long-term disability? While the clearest answer is, lifestyle, which is a great preventative measure, another is awareness…before, after, and during a potential stroke which are great proactive approaches. 

A quick response can mean the difference in life, life with a disability, and even death. As a senior living in Florida, it’s important to stay on top of different aspects of your health. Let’s talk about what time really means when it comes to a cerebrovascular accident, or in other words, a stroke.

What Exactly Is a Stroke and How to Know What You’re Most at Risk Of

You might hear some people refer to a stroke as a cerebrovascular accident. It’s essentially damage to your brain that happens if the blood supply to the brain is interrupted or compromised in any way and it is always considered to be a medical emergency. 

People often wonder what actually happens when you’re having a stroke and the best way to put it is when one of your brain’s blood vessels bursts, causing a part of the brain to die off or become significantly damaged. The symptoms vary but there are some warning signs that you need to be aware of which we’ll discuss. 

What Does “Fast” Mean in a Stroke Scenario?

“Fast” in terms of a stroke means more than how it appears. It stands for;

  • Face
  • Arms
  • Speech
  • Time

The acronym itself helps you to recognize if someone is having an acute stroke and the purpose is to help alert you to the fact that someone needs immediate medical attention. Now, to give you the real breakdown of the term, it’ll technically be referred to as “Be Fast” and it’ll look a bit like this;

Balance Issues

Eyesight Changes

Facial Drooping

Arm Weakness

Speech Difficulty

Time to Call for Help (911)

Let’s also mention that if someone appears to test positive for “Fast”, this doesn’t always mean they are having a stroke as it could just be a “mimic” of a stroke diagnosis. However, the situation should still be treated as the real thing by seeking immediate medical attention. When you think about the damage that a stroke does, think beyond just the physical discomfort, think about the financial strain that goes along with it. 

According to the World Stroke Organization, the global cost of strokes is around $721 billion. You have to also consider the burden that a stroke-causing disability can have on the sufferer and the family. 

If someone has suffered from a stroke, they’re going to need tPA which is a drug designed to act as a “clot-buster”. tPA stands for tissue plasminogen activator and it’s the treatment given to those suffering from a stroke. Ideally, you’ll want to have the sufferer get this drug within an hour after showing symptoms but having it administered within 4.5 hours is the overall range you want to stick within. As a senior living in Florida, or anywhere, response times can help to limit the cause of preventable issues.

You Should Know the 7 Risk Factors for a Stroke

High Blood Pressure

This is a common risk factor that is easily preventable. There are several ways to reduce your risk, including weight loss, exercise, and reducing the amount of salt in your diet. 

High Cholesterol

You can reduce your cholesterol levels through a combination of exercise and a healthy diet. An imbalance in your cholesterol levels puts you more at risk of an ischemic stroke. Low-density lipoproteins are also an issue that can put you at a higher risk for an intracerebral hemorrhage.


A high amount of blood glucose is what results in clots that can form within your blood vessels along with a high amount of fatty deposits. These are things that could result in blockage of your blood vessels and cut off your blood supply. 

That depletion in blood causes a halt in your brain getting the oxygen it needs which can cause a stroke. Keeping your blood sugar levels under control can help reduce your risk as well.


If you’re a smoker, your risk doubles for the chance of an ischemic stroke. Also, those who smoke are at a higher risk of developing HBP which is another risk factor.

Heart Disease

Heart disease or a history of heart disease can increase your risk. It’s important to note that a stroke and heart disease are not the same things rather, one is just a risk factor for the other.

Being Overweight

If you are overweight, you’re at risk for things that could cause a stroke such as high cholesterol or blood pressure as well as high blood sugar and triglycerides.

A History of Stroke

Having a stroke as part of your family history puts you at a higher risk but also, you are more inclined to be exposed to the same surroundings, environments, and potential risks.

The Danger in Ignoring Stroke Symptoms

When your brain’s cells aren’t getting glucose or any oxygen, they start to die off. Here’s the saying, “stroke is brain”. For every minute that a stroke isn’t treated, at least 1.9 million of the brain’s cells die.This is one of the main reasons to never ignore a stroke. Doing so could be detrimental to the life of the sufferer and the quality of life they have. Irreversible brain damage, as well as death, are two of the possible results if a stroke isn’t caught early.

Detecting a Stroke Can Sometimes Be as Early as a Week Before: Here’s How

Early signs of Ischemic strokes can happen immediately but they can also start to arise as early as seven days in advance. A few things you’ll want to pay close attention to are if there is ;

  • Difficulty speaking or walking
  • Episodes of dizziness
  • Coordination issues
  • Loss of balance
  • Issues with understanding speech

These are just a few warning signs and should never go overlooked especially if you have had a prior stroke or you have a family history of stroke. If you have concerns you may be taken for an MRI and this is a good thing as an MRI can show damage to the brain within just an hour of symptom onset. 

The best way to detect a stroke is to be aware of your body and what it is telling you. As a senior living in Florida, you need to stay on top of how you feel and if you ever feel out of the ordinary. If you experience any of the symptoms we discussed above, you need to seek medical attention immediately. If you are exposed to any of the risk factors mentioned above, you should seek the next steps from your physician. 

Doing What You Can, As Fast As You Can

Unfortunately, someone dies from a stroke every 40 seconds. That means that in less than every 4-minute cycle, someone is dying from a stroke and some may have been preventable. Whether you experience paralysis or even just numbness in your leg, face, or arms, these symptoms should always be treated as a medical emergency. 

Symptoms could arise minutes before a stroke occurs or even an entire week. Your life, or someone else’s could depend on simple observation and the time it takes for you to respond to what you observe.

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