Like a heart attack, a stroke can hit a person suddenly and seemingly without warning—one moment you’re sipping iced tea or lemonade on the porch, the next moment you’re down on the floor, the world receding into a darkening blur around you. And if it so happens that you don’t have a medical alert system with you, your chances of survival can be pretty dim. The millions of unfortunate experiences of senior citizens around the world, who insist in living on their own and ending up unable to get quick medical assistance during a serious medical emergency such as a stroke, should give us a valuable lesson: independence in your twilight years is good, but only if you are protected with a reliable medical alert system.
A stroke is defined as a sudden stoppage of the blood supply to the brain, usually caused by a blockage of the arteries that provide the brain’s blood supply. When this is the cause, the stroke is called “ischemic.” The brain is the part of the body that is the most “oxygen hungry,” that is why even a brief interruption of its much needed blood supply could have dramatic, catastrophic effects. The brain is also very fragile—it is so easily damaged from the simple event of a lost of blood or oxygen supply. Neurons or brain cells die easily within a few moments of blood supply loss, and depending on the area of the brain that is affected, clusters of dead brain cells could mean loss of larger bodily functions that depend on that brain area that has been damaged. Moreover, a stroke can also be caused when a blood vessel bursts, thereby letting blood bleed into what should always be a “no blood here” area of the brain tissue. This type of stroke is therefore called “hemorrhagic.”
The good thing is that often, a stroke event is heralded by certain distinct, unmistakable warning signs hours or even days before the actual attack. Even if you have a medical alert system, you should know the following warning signs in order to fore-warn yourself or your loved ones who have the most potential to have a stroke:
- Based on medical data, stroke’s most common warning sign is a sudden and unexplainable weakness or numbness of the face, arm or leg. It often affects only one side of the body, depending on the part of the brain that is affected.
- Sudden confusion or difficulty in understanding the present situation or context, being unable to speak or understanding the words of the other person, a general and massive incoherence are also major symptoms of a stroke. These occur when the stroke hits that part of the brain that processes speech and communication.
- Getting momentarily “blinded” in one or both eyes. Patients report that during their stroke attack, they suddenly found it difficult to see, either because their vision blacked out or their brain faltered in processing visual stimuli.
- Sudden difficulty in walking or an onslaught of some nauseating dizziness. The victim essentially loses balance or coordination and would end up falling down.
- A sudden and powerful unexplainable headache could also indicate a major stroke. However, not all strokes are associated with pain—there are also cases in which the stroke is completely painless.
The keyword here, as you realize, is “sudden.” Often, the stroke’s symptoms happen too fast that you only have a few moments to act or call for help. In normal situations, you would be lucky if there are people around you to attend to your assistance—they could call an ambulance or 911, or perform first aid measures to minimize somehow the effects of the stroke. But for most senior citizens, immediate help is non-existent—they live alone in their home. That is, only if you do not equip yourself with a medical alert system. Such dire emergencies merely emphasize the importance of having a medical alert with you at all times—in the event of a stroke, you only have enough time to press that emergency button provided by your medical alert system. Indeed, as data from thousands upon thousands of actual real-world medical alert usage experiences indicate, pressing that emergency button is enough to save a life—your own or your loved one’s.