Longmont Stroke Support Group
The First Few Hours After a Stroke
When you have a stroke, time is crucial. If you have any stroke symptoms, call 911 to be taken to the hospital right away. Don't delay! Don't try to drive yourself to the hospital. The earlier treatment is started after symptoms begin, the more likely you are to survive and recover. Your doctor can be alerted you are traveling to the hospital.
At the emergency room
In the hospital, a doctor will assess your symptoms and will need to know when they occurred. You will also be asked about your health history and risk factors. If they are with you, family or friends can answer if you can't. You will likely have blood tests. You may also have a CT scan or an MRI. This will help determine what kind of stroke you have. The two types are blockage (ischemic stroke) or bleeding (hemorrhagic stroke). The type is important to know before treatment is started. This is because treatment that helps an ischemic stroke can kill a person who had a hemorrhagic stroke.
Acute-phase stroke treatment
Treatment can begin as soon as your doctor knows what type of stroke you had and where it occurred. Phase one begins from the first minutes to the first hours after you begin having symptoms. It involves one or more of the following, depending on what kind of stroke you have:
The goal of the acute phase treatment is to minimize brain damage from the stroke. After the first several hours, treatment turns to your recovery and on preventing future strokes.
Symptoms of stroke
Call 911 right away if you have any of the following, even if the symptom seems to get better.
B.E.F.A.S.T. is an easy way to remember the signs of a stroke. When you see these signs, you will know that you need to call 911 fast.
B.E.F.A.S.T. stands for:
If you are at risk for having a stroke: