FAST: Your knowledge will save a life.

A stroke occurs when blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted, resulting in damage to the brain. Bodily functions that are normally controlled by the affected part of the brain will be implicated. A stroke is potentially life-threatening and early recognition of symptoms and timely medical attention is crucial.

There are two types of stroke: ischaemic and haemorrhagic. Ischaemic stroke is more common and occurs when there is a blockage caused by a blood clot in an artery supplying blood to a part of the brain. Haemorrhagic stroke occurs when an artery in the brain bursts and results in an intracerebral (parenchymal) haemorrhage, or less commonly, the artery bursts into the space surrounding the brain (subarachnoid haemorrhage).

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With stroke being the leading cause of adult disability and third most common cause of death worldwide, it is essential to know the symptoms. Time is of the essence in treating a stroke, yet many stroke victims have worse outcome because they do not get help in time.

Patients have to be treated with clot-bursting drug within 4.5hours of experiencing ischaemic strokes which accounts for more than 85% of all strokes. The drug is able to open up blocked vessels and restores blood flow to the brain, to limit damage done to the brain from the lack of oxygen,

Another interventional treatment is the use of a mechanical thrombectomy to remove the clots that block large blood vessel. However, this is can only be used if it is applicable and has only a window of 6 to 8 hours.

Stroke victims will need to get to the hospital as soon as possible but many of them are unaware of the symptoms, therefore, they may opt to take self-prescribed measures such as a taking nap or Panadol to relieve the symptoms.

A good gauge to recognise the symptoms of stroke is to follow the F.A.S.T method.

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(image taken from https://www.healthxchange.sg/stroke/essential-guide-stroke/stroke-act-fast)

There is a common misconception that you need to experience a combination of symptoms for it to be called stroke but stroke can happen such that there is slurring of speech, yet the limbs look fine.

A non-intrusive method to detect any build-up of cholesterol plaque in the blood vessel is through the screening using ultrasound carotid scan. This scan is highly recommended for people with high cholesterol and hypertension to prevent stroke and coronary diseases. The ultrasound image is shown instantaneously and practitioners will be able to tell if there is any risks involved at the point of the screening.

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Prevention is the best protection. Have regular health screening with follow-up,  good control of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, have a healthy diet rich in fruits vegetables, whole grains and low in fats, exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight.

Recognise the signs, remember F.A.S.T and you may save a life.

For more information on health screening and ultrasound carotid scan, you may contact Integrated Wellness Pte Ltd at 6250 7623 or send an email to appointments@iwell.sg. Our friendly nurses and staff will be glad to assist you in your queries.

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