A stroke occurs when blood cannot flow properly to the brain due to a clot in the arteries. The brain becomes suffocated without proper oxygen, and the longer this occurs, the more neurons are destroyed--1.9 million per minute, says the National Stroke Association.
According to GoRedforWomen.org, stroke is a leading cause of death and long-term disability in the U.S. Even if your senior has always led a healthy life, a stroke can come at any time and have any number of harmful reactions if not treated quickly--including loss of life. There are five major symptoms that someone is having a stroke, and all of them come on very suddenly. In fact, some are very evident immediately. However, you do not need to be experiencing every symptom in order to be having a stroke; just one is enough.
Loss of balance
Numbness or slackness in face muscles, including difficulty talking
Numbness or weakness in an arm or leg
What to Do
Strokes can happen when an artery bursts, as well, and a common reaction is a severe headache with no other cause. If your senior is not prone to headaches and/or migraines, has not received a head injury, and is not being exposed to sudden high-input sensory experiences (such as a sudden bright light or loud noise), but they get a striking headache without apparent cause, they may be having a stroke. If the artery has burst, not only is the brain not getting needed oxygen but blood is pouring into areas of the body where it does not belong. Although it may seem alarmist to jump into action, it is much better to be safe and get a diagnosis of severe headache than to ignore a stroke in progress.
American Heart Association. What Are the Warning Signs of Stroke? Answers by heart. Available at https://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@hcm/documents/downloadable/ucm_300317.pdf. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Stroke Signs and Symptoms. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/stroke/signs_symptoms.htm. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
Go Red for Women Editors. Symptoms of a Stroke. Goredforwomen.org. Available at https://www.goredforwomen.org/about-heart-disease/symptoms_of_heart_disease_in_women/symptoms-of-a-stroke/. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
Mayo Clinic. Stroke: Symptoms and causes. Available at http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/stroke/symptoms-causes/dxc-20117265. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
National Stroke Association. Signs and Symptoms of Stroke. Available at http://www.stroke.org/understand-stroke/recognizing-stroke/signs-and-symptoms-stroke. Retrieved February 25, 2016.