How to Act Immediately to Lessen Brain Damage from a Stroke

What is the best strategy? What kind of stroke it is makes all the difference. Is the stroke a hemorrhage or a clot? Get professional evaluation and treatment F.A.S.T. action saves brain cells!

Get professional evaluation(s) of "sudden" signs or warnings of:

~ A major-stroke,

~ A mini-stroke,

~ Any kind of impending stroke.

Only a small percentage victims of stroke get the tests needed within the time limit. Here is how to take the needed immediate actions.


  1. Image titled The first hour is most crucial for the nerves to live
    Save brain cells or a life: act right then. The first hour is most crucial for the nerves to live -- and for the muscles that are controlled by those nerves to not be virtually useless -- and for the victim to recover more fully, sooner vis-a-vis later or not at all.

    ~ The chances of death are much greater if a hemorrhage is not attended to immediately by a cardiovascular medical team.
  2. Image titled description
    Urge anyone involved to "get tests right now" for stroke and whether there is the need to medically to either:

    1. Open the blood flow using "drugs" or arthroscopic "rotor-rooter" treatment if the clot and artery is accessible and large enough;

    2. Stop brain hemorrhaging of the aneurysm by highly delicate "neurosurgery" -- or by less invasive but delicate emplacement of a plastic filament coil by "arthroscopic insertion".
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    Get special care within three hours (or less if possible) -- emergency treatments by trained emergency responders and/or at a clinic or hospital -- within 60, 120 or even 180 minutes.
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    Determine the time that the first signs seemed to begin to occur.
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    Call the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) for an ambulance, ie: call the Emergency Services or the emergency number in your area.
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    Get advanced life support -- in the ambulance, if so equipped.
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    Have non-EMS ambulance (rural/volunteer fire department, etc.) that comes seek treatment.
    • At the nearest place that does offer such care at that hour of the day or night.
    • At the nearest ambulance or doctor that can offer such care.
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    Quickly take the person to the nearest city or large town with EMS care available, even if you have to transport the victim yourself.
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    Check a list of signs of a stroke, such as in the "Tips" section below.
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    Take action immediately:
    • Do not roll over and go back to sleep.
    • Do not say, "Oh, let's see how I (you/he or she) may feel later."
    • Do not take a break, "I just need to take a break."
    • Do not make excuses, "I'm just dizzy, feel weak and confused, and just need a good drink!"
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    Drink water only until you get a medical evaluation.
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    Do "not" take alcohol, caffeine/coffee, tea, soft drinks as a "pick me up" or boost.
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    Take action. Start immediately while there is time after signs of a stroke which means either a:
    1. Hemorrhage of a blood vessel leading to or within the brain. This occurs when a ballooning blood vessel (aneurysm) ruptures, hemorrhages and causes an interruption of blood flow -- or
    2. Blockage of such blood vessel(s) that may be from two causes: (1) Cholesterol forming a clog and closing off the blood flow at that point causing the stroke in the brain; (2) Blood clot breaking loose in an artery leading to the brain, often after an injury in the chest area or after heart surgery (as a complication).
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    Err on the side of caution: the person may not be aware of or not have obvious symptoms that he or she has had a stroke.
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    Help the possible stroke victim decide to go to get a medical evaluation/examination -- without delay.
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    Apply a cloth-covered ice bag/ice pack on the head. It may be helpful against swelling, headache, etc.
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    Apply ice only -- so do "not" apply heat, ie:
    • "No hot pack."


  • Usually, a sudden development of one or more of the warning signs indicates a stroke, sometimes called a "brain attack."
  • Signs depend on the
    • Extent (size and severity) and
    • Location of the abnormality.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes;
  • Sudden paralysis of parts of the body;
  • Some doctors recommend giving a crushed aspirin dissolved in a spoonful of water (if swallowing is possible) and followed by a drink of water to help with beginning the mitigation of damage to the brain.
    • Aspirin may relax blood vessels as it may serve as a muscle relaxant as it is a Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug.
      • NSAIDs include most of the OTC pain relief medications.
  • Sudden severe, disabling headache with no known cause.
  • Sudden speech difficulties;
  • Sudden confusion, trouble understanding;
  • And if the stroke very severe:
    • Loss of consciousness, possible coma and/or death.

Patients receiving immediate EMS were nearly 30% more likely to recover from their strokes -- with little or no disability -- after three months, than were patients who did not receive the treatment.

  • Caution: Thinning the blood with NSAID (ie: Aspirin/others) probably would not help, if a brain hemorrhage caused the stroke.
    • NSAIDs, like all drugs, may interact with other medications, for example: concurrent use of NSAIDs and "quinolone antibiotics" may increase the risk of adverse 'central nervous system effects of quinolones including seizure', photosensitivity.[1]

Simplified signs -- personal and individual

  • Looking at yourself in the mirror or at the other person.
    • Smile: Look for an even smile (look for new one-sided facial weakness, drooping).
    • Raise both arms: Ask for them to be raised evenly/level. (Watch for the difficulty or ease of raising to the same height).
    • Walk: Be careful walking (watch for weakness in one leg or on one side).
    • Balance: Try standing on one foot; walking "heel to toe..." on a straight line, be careful (watch for loss of balance).
    • Talk: Speaking sentences (listen for slurring, and confusion).
    • Understand: Conversational exchanges (check trouble understanding, confusion).

Signs, Warnings or Symptoms include:

  • Sudden 'numbness and/or weakness of face, arm or leg --
    • Especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden continual difficulty swallowing with no known reason;
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness,
    • Lasting loss of balance or coordination.


  • There are sometimes quite specific warning signs of an impending stroke including dizziness, headaches, weakness, etc.
  • A thrombosis is a coagulation or clot in any blood vessel, which may break loose in a vein or artery and go to the heart or brain causing a "heart or brain attack" or pulmonary embolism.
  • A tumor may apply pressure and cause enough damage to bring on symptoms similar to a stroke which is another reason to get serious testing and evaluations.
  • A blockage of a coronary (heart) arterial branch by a blood clot within the vessel, usually at a site narrowed by arteriosclerosis (hardening of arteries) causes impairing of oxygen supply/blood to the heart (heart attack).
  • Avoid Getting Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) which is a blood clot/coagulation in a deep vein called "deep vein thrombosis", as from the leg or pelvis, that could break loose as one are many particles and be pumped by the heart, possibly damaging the heart valves if there are large pieces and onward to the lungs.
    • DVT is life threatening if it results in a pulmonary embolism:[2] blockage of blood pumped from the right side of the heart into the arteries and capillaries going to the lungs. This could become a circulatory blockage of the lungs by the thrombotic particles marked by inability to pass sufficient blood for oxygen uptake and thus causing symptoms including: labored breathing, chest pain, fainting, rapid heart rate, cyanosis (skin turning bluish), shock, and sometimes death.
  • Pulmonary embolism [3] - an obstruction in the blood passage through the lungs -- may not be due to clots, bit may be from other particles or some obstruction not clots -- such as fat or bubbles of air after an accident and/or as such pieces due complications of surgery. A minor PE may be dissolved and absorbed by the blood system and filtered out by the liver aided other glands.

Some causes of strokes (cerebral vascular disease/progressive brain blood vessel problems) are present for years before a stroke occurs, although the symptoms of a stroke may occur suddenly.

Article Info

Categories: Cardiovascular Health and Blood Pressure