Don't Ignore Stroke Symptoms
July 24, 2006

Don't Ignore Stroke Symptoms

Stroke is the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States in people over the age of 40. Nearly 700,000 people have strokes every year. A stroke is caused by an interruption in blood flow to the brain. The lack of blood supply can result in permanent brain cell damage. Many people are becoming aware that time is of the essence when treating a possible stroke (also known as a "brain attack"). There are treatments available for certain types of strokes, but treatment is most effective shortly after stroke symptoms occur. In fact, potential risks of the treatment may outweigh its possible benefits after just a short period of time. Doctors may not perform the treatment if too much time has passed since symptoms of the stroke began. Therefore it is critical that a patient gets medical attention IMMEDIATELY when stroke symptoms occur. Please call 911 right away if you experience any of the symptoms below.
Many people experience TIAs (Transient Ischemic Attacks) where there is a short-term lack of blood to part of the brain. People often call these "mini-strokes" or "spells". These CANNOT be ignored. While most people recover from these fully and quickly, recent studies have shown that of patients that are seen in a hospital emergency department after having a TIA, 5% will have a full-blown stroke within 2 days. Furthermore a quarter of patients will experience a stroke or another TIA within the next 3 months. Please be aware of the symptoms of a stroke or TIA, and talk about them with your friends and family. You may just save a life! Please call 911 right away if you experience any of the following:

Sudden Onset of a Headache (especially if it feels like "the worst headache ever")

Sudden Loss of Vision in One or Both Eyes

Sudden Onset of Abnormal Speech (slurring words, one side of mouth drooping)

Sudden Dizziness

Sudden Onset of Abnormal Gait (trouble walking)

Sudden Onset of Muscle Weakness (one sided)