What Are the Signs of a Stroke?

This year about 800,000 Americans will experience the signs of stroke, and will suffer a stroke of some kind. Stroke happens when blood supply to the brain is interrupted, resulting in damage to the brain tissue. One-third of stroke survivors will have another one within 5 years. Each year strokes claim about 160,000 lives in the United States. Of the 640,000 who survive, many will have long-term disabilities that will effect their quality of life, physical appearance, and their capacity to earn a living.

Early detection

Early detection of the signs of stroke and symptoms of stroke make it much more likely that you’ll survive and have fewer lasting effects.

The National Stroke Association uses an anagram to remind people to act “F.A.S.T.” if you think someone may be having a stroke. Here are some easy things you can do to tell:

F – FACE Ask the person to smile. If one side of the face droops, this is one of the signs of stroke.

A – ARMS Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S – SPEECH Say a simple sentence and ask the person to repeat it. Are the words slurred and incomprehensible?

T – TIME If you can answer “yes”, to any of the above questions, you need to call 911 immediately. Every second counts during a stroke.

Recently there has been an email going around that is saying another one of the signs of stroke that you could look for in place of the “T” is to have the person stick out their TONGUE. If their tongue is ‘crooked’, if it goes to one side or the other, this is one of the signs of stroke.

While this is also likely true, as a test it is not as valuable than the other three because there is room for interpretation of the results. How ‘crooked’ is crooked? How far to one side does it have to go before you might say it’s definitely one of the signs of stroke? The other three test mentioned above are better to use (smile, raise both arms, speak a simple sentence) and are very easy to determine if there is a problem.

When stroke strikes

Even with quick intervention, strokes can result in long-term disability. Depending on what people can afford, stroke patients may decide to have rehab in a hospital or long-term care facility. Others may even get help in the comfort of their own homes. With therapy, patents can relearn and regain basic activities of daily living such as speaking, eating, getting dressed and walking.

Costs of care

As with all medical care, treatment for stroke patients can be very costly. The 2009 annual cost of stroke is expected to reach $68.9 billion according to the American Heart Association.

Not very many families today are ready to handle the high costs of health care. Especially in today’s economy, it’s very difficult to have extra expenses beyond your normal household budget. Not surprisingly, about half of all personal bankruptcies filed in the U.S. are attributed in part to medical bills.

Cost-saving solution

Recognizing the signs of stroke and the costs of stroke are critical. But you really shouldn’t stop there.

Supplemental health insurance policies provide financial support when an individual is diagnosed with a stroke. These policies, also known as critical illness insurance, provide cash that can be used however you want. A person can use money to cover medical bills, pay for living expenses, or pay for assisted care.

When the signs of stroke are caught early, the long-term effects can be alleviated. And when individuals prepare themselves with a critical illness plan, they gain the peace of mind that comes from securing their personal and financial future.