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How to help if you witness someone suffer from a stroke

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It is frightening to witness someone suffer from a stroke, but it's even worse if you can't help them.

Knowing the signs of a stroke, as well as how to help, are obviously important. If you're the only other person present during the incident, someone's life might very well depend on you.

As such, we have put together a list of the symptoms of a stroke, and what to do if you witness someone suffering from one. 

What is a stroke?

According to the Stroke Association, a stroke is a brain attack which occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is cut off. It can happen to anyone, of any age, at any time. As such, knowing how to respond to a stroke is essential even if you're a student, as being young is no protection against it.

Symptoms:

The Stroke Association claims the 'FAST test' is the best way to check if someone is exhibiting signs of a stroke. This test will also pick up symptoms of a transient ischaemic attack (TIA), also known as a mini-stroke (same symptoms as a stroke, but lasts for a shorter time).

The 'FAST test' is:

Face: Can the person smile? Has their face fallen on one side?

Arms: Can the person lift their arms and keep them up?

Speech Problems: Can the person speak clearly or is their speech slurred? Can they understand what you say?

Time: If you see any of these signs, it's time to call 999

While this test checks for the most common symptoms of a stroke, the Stroke Association warns it may not pick all of them up. Other symptoms of a stroke can be found here.

How to react:

It is very important that you seek immediate medical help if you see any of these signs. Call 999 and ask for an ambulance to your location, as well as seeking help from any medical staff if you are somewhere they are present.

Do not try to wait for the symptoms to subside, as you do not know how long they will last or what the damage will be afterwards. It is better for the victim to be quickly taken to a specialist stroke unit to receive the care they need.

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