A neighbor fainted at a party the other night. The host called 911 which brought the paramedics and most of the fire department (Sunday early evening in December – not much else to do, I suppose). She is ok, though somewhat embarassed by the attention.
Was calling 911 really necessary? Probably. If she had a stroke, the paramedics would have made that determination and got her medical care in the crital 3-hour window where effects of stroke can be reduced or reversed.
Friends and relatives who have suffered strokes have been able to function for several hours after the onset only to have serious deterioration after it was too late to make a good recovery.
Signs of stroke – if the person has any difficulty with ANY of these, they may have had a stroke.
Ask the person to smile – facial muscles are often experiencing numbness
Ask the person to talk – forming and speaking in a coherent sentence eg. It is sunny today.
Ask the person to raise their hands above their head
Ask the person to stick out their tongue – is it crooked? can they stick it out straight?
This is just one short list. There are several others along these lines.
American Stroke Association
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
National Stroke Association
American Heart Association