At Best Care, we know that as our loved ones age, we must be aware of any health conditions that could be dangerous to them. Nothing is worse than being present during a medical emergency and not knowing how to help.
One of the most dangerous health risks for seniors is a stroke. Here’s how to recognize a stroke, plus some stroke prevention guidelines, to help you and your loved ones in a crisis.
What is a stroke?
A stroke occurs when there is an interruption of blood to the brain. The lapse of blood triggers the death of brain cells by depriving them of oxygen.
Strokes can cause permanent brain damage, paralysis, or even death. In fact, it’s one of the biggest dangers facing older people in the United States.
Warning signs of a stroke
Here are some early signs of a stroke:
- Facial Drooping: If one side of the face is lopsided or drooping, ask the person to smile. Looking at their smile, if one side of the face is still uneven, this could be a sign of a stroke.
- Arm Weakness: There is usually weakness in one side of the body, the arms and legs, and the side of the face. If you ask the individual to hold both arms up and one is hanging lower, this could signal a stroke.
- Confusion: Showing signs of confusion or difficulty speaking, forming sentences, and not understanding the information given to them is another sign of a possible stroke.
- Dizziness: Sudden and severe dizziness and loss of balance or coordination are concerning symptoms that could point to a stroke.
- Headache: Ask the individual if they have any head pain, especially that that comes on suddenly and intensely.
If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately to seek prompt medical attention.
Stroke prevention guidelines
Here’s how you can help minimize the risk of a stroke.
- Take Steps to Control Blood Pressure: High blood pressure is the most significant factor in stroke. You should always consult your doctor about combatting high blood pressure. Maintaining a blood pressure below 120/80 can be done by limiting sodium intake, avoiding foods high in cholesterol, and eating lots of whole, fresh fruits and veggies.
- Quit Smoking: Quitting this habit will help lower blood pressure, which will help reduce the risk of a stroke.
- Limit Alcoholic Beverages: Drinking more than two 5 oz glasses of alcohol daily can increase your stroke risk.
- Treat Atrial Fibrillation: A-Fib is a form of irregular heartbeat that can cause clots to form in the heart, which can travel to the brain, causing a stroke. If you have heart palpitations or shortness of breath, see your doctor!
Home care for stroke patients
If the worst should happen and someone you care about suffers a stroke, they may need extra support in their recovery and for secondary stroke prevention. Care for stroke patients at home could include:
- Mobility recovery, such as learning to walk or move around independently again
- Staying on top of medications
- Making lifestyle changes, such as those listed above, to prevent another stroke from occurring.
Strokes are a danger to seniors, but at-home recovery can help those who experience them bounce back faster. Contact us today to learn more about our home care services.