Stroke is a paralysing monster that affects millions of people every year. The ensuing wheelchair- bound life can be quiet demanding for the patient as well as the caregiver.

Stroke results from altered blood supply to the brain. The resultant lack of oxygen and nutrients leads to death of the nerve cells in the brain. This can happen either due to blood clots occluding the blood flow to the brain or haemorrhage, i.e., bleeding in the brain from the ruptured blood vessels.

It proves to be fatal for many, but those who survive this attack tend to become both physically and emotionally disabled. Owing to its damage potential, it becomes all the more important to recognise the subtle signs of this hidden event inside the skull. Here is a short and crisp guide to identify an oncoming stroke:

  • S - Sudden onset of abnormal signs is a hallmark. These signs develop within few minutes in an apparently normal looking person. E.g. suddenly looking lost or confused, losing balance.
  • T - Talking is troublesome. The person looks confused. He is either unable to understand what is being said or he/she might just stare at you while you talk to the person. There may either be slurring of speech or the person may just turn mute while being completely fine a few seconds ago.
  • R - Rumble-tumble gait. There is an imbalance and shakiness while walking. He/she may fall down due to unsteady gait and lack of coordination while walking.
  • O - One side of the body feels weak or numb suddenly. There is an inability to move the affected arm or leg, as it feels numb and shaky. Half of the face looks dropped with a crooked smile and drooped eyelid.
  • K - Killing headache might accompany. Severe, sudden head pain is experienced that appears to come out of nowhere.
  • E - Eyesight troubles. Complete loss vision suddenly or blurring of vision or seeing streaks in one or both the eyes.

These signs are seen depending on which area of the brain is experiencing the lack of blood supply. A person suffering from high blood pressure is at higher risk of stroke. In addition, obese individuals, people suffering from certain heart problems, diabetes and high blood cholesterol levels are also at risk of this menace. To make matters worse, addictive habits of smoking and alcohol add to the risk.

The most important aspect while encountering a stroke is to be quick to act. If you notice any of the above mentioned signs in any of your near and dear ones, neighbours, colleagues or employees, without any apparent cause, immediately rush them to a hospital emergency. Along with examination, a CT scan and an MRI of the brain will confirm the type and location of the brain damage. A long-term medication and a series of other therapies follow the prevention and management of stroke.Important to remember that the amount of patients recovery depends upon how early you reach to a doctor without wasting time!