stroke first aid dr vivek baliga

Stroke – First Aid

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A stroke can be thought of as a heart attack in the brain. This means that either there was a clot in the brain’s blood vessels (which happens in 80% of strokes) or the blood vessels broke and let blood into the brain.

When the blood supply is cut off, parts of the brain get injured and die because they do not get enough oxygen.

If medical help is given quickly and the blockage can be cleared to restore blood flow, less damage can be done to the brain. This is where stroke first aid comes in.

Recognizing A Stroke

The first step in stroke first aid is to figure out that a stroke is happening, which can be hard to do sometimes.

The image below will show you how to recognize a stroke early, so medical attention can be sought quickly.

signs of stroke first aid

Besides checking for BE-FAST, there may be other signs, such as:

1. Drop in consciousness all of a sudden

2. Weakness or paralysis on one side of the body, especially face, arm, or leg numbness on one or both sides of the body

3. Difficulty swallowing

4. Trouble understanding or speaking

5. Unexplained dizziness

6. Vision that is blurred or less clear in one or both eyes. Some people are unable to see things from the corner of their eyes (called loss of peripheral vision)

7. Headaches are often severe and come on quickly. Some headaches can be unbearable.

8. Drowsiness

9. Confusion

Stroke First Aid – What To Do?

The first thing to do is call for help. It is always good practice to have the number of your local hospital or ambulance service put on your refrigerator.

There are a few best practices to follow to limit the damage and give the person the best chance of getting better fast.


1. Take note of the time at which the person had the first symptom. This will help guide the doctor in providing urgent care once you reach the hospital.

2. If the person has diabetes, check the blood glucose level. Some patients who have low blood sugars may behave like a patient suffering a stroke.

3. If the patient is conscious, then place their head on a pillow, watch their body temperature and wipe away any secretions that are at the corner of their mouth.

4. If they are unconscious, move them to the recovery position.

Learn how to prevent stroke here.

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