What to Do If You Suspect a Stroke
What to Do When Symptoms OccurIf you believe someone is having a stroke -- if he or she suddenly loses the ability to speak, cannot move an arm or leg on one side, or experiences facial paralysis on one side -- call 911 immediately.
A stroke is a medical emergency. Every minute counts when someone is having a stroke because the longer blood flow is cut off to the brain, the greater the damage. Immediate treatment can save people's lives and enhance their chances for successful recovery.
Doctors may treat ischemic strokes, the most common type of strokes, with a drug called t-PA, which dissolves blood clots that are obstructing blood flow to the brain. The window of opportunity to start treating a patient with t-PA is three hours, but to be evaluated and receive treatment, patients need to get to the hospital within 60 minutes.
Studies have found that some patients who received t-PA within three hours of the start of stroke symptoms were at least 30 percent more likely to recover with little or no disability after three months.