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Sunday, December 9, 2007 - Caregivers Can Know the Stroke Symptoms and Call 911

At three symptoms of stroke are listed as: (1) having a crooked smile when asked to smile, (2) when asked to hold arms out like sleep walking one arm is lower and (3) the person's speech might be garbled or words incorrect. If caregivers see any of these symptoms the directions are to call 911 immediately and get to a hospital.

Rapid medical response can make a big difference, so it is important to act quickly. Minutes might make the difference in the severity of the stroke.

A stroke causes communication in parts of the brain to decrease or stop. Speech, memory, sight, feelings, swallowing and other functions may be affected.

I was a caregiver for a 97 year old lady once who suddenly began having difficulty speaking. Throughout the day she had been fine. Her speech was suddenly garbled and she was not using words that made sense.

I called 911, and she was taken by ambulance to the emergency room. The hospital was able to treat her quickly, to minimize the effects of the stroke. Later she was able to return home, begin her daily walking exercise again, and go back to her reading, television, and other activities.

The cause of a stroke is either when a blood vessel has burst or there is a blocked blood pathway.

The website explains that 60% of the people who have a stroke become depressed. The article advises people to work hard for rehabilitation, and to avoid comparing yourself to others who have had a stroke because everyone's recovery will be different.

The website explains that in the United States there are 4.8 million survivors of strokes and it is the top reason for disability. Each year there are 750,000 more stroke cases, and strokes are the number three reason for death.

Caregivers for stroke survivors are often overwhelmed with the needs of the loved one who had a stroke. A caregiver's personal freedom and spare time can be taken up with caring and feeling tired, sad, and overburdened is not unusual. Joining support groups, such as the one at can help and be a way to learn tips.

It's important for caregivers and family members to understand the frustration and depression that someone who has had a stroke often experiences. The person might say things in a frustrated way that are unkind, but it is due to the tension of the circumstances. It helps if the family knows this so no one takes things personally.

Caregivers often feel there are few places to get help, and become severely run down.

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