Friday, December 2, 2011

Fearless Friday

A stroke occurs every 45 seconds, affecting approximately 700,000 Americans each year, according to the American Stroke Association. Stroke remains the third leading cause of death in this country.
With strokes occurring so often, it is important to be able to recognize the symptoms of stroke in order to obtain treatment early on—when it is most important.  The most crucial key to recovery is immediate medical attention. Whether it is you or someone around you that experiences these symptoms, it is critical that someone calls 911 right away.
Many people associate pain with a stroke. However, that is not common. “Most people have weakness, trouble with speech or walking or coordination problems,” says Fred G. Wenger, DO, medical director of the Emergency Department at The University of Tennessee Medical Center. “A lot of it will depend on where the stroke is located.” Stroke warning signs are indications that the brain is not getting enough oxygen. Call for help immediately if you or someone around you experiences one or more of these signs.
  • Sudden weakness, paralysis or numbness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden onset of double vision, dimness or loss of vision
  • Sudden difficulty speaking or understanding language
  • Sudden severe headache without apparent cause
  • Unexplained dizziness, unsteadiness or loss of balance, especially in combination with other signs
It is easy to misinterpret these symptoms since they could be symptoms of other conditions, so it is imperative to get to the hospital and receive a proper diagnosis and treatment. For treatment to be most successful, a patient should be treated for stroke within the first three hours of the onset of symptoms.
Sometimes people will experience stroke symptoms that disappear within a few minutes. These transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) or mini-strokes are caused by temporary interruptions to the blood supply of the brain. TIAs are a pre-sign of stroke and should not be ignored. “Many times symptoms will be gone long before the person goes to the emergency department,” Wenger explains. “Five percent of people who experience a TIA will go on to have a stroke in the next 48 hours. In the next 30 days, that number rises to as high as 10 percent. That is not minimal.”
About one-third of people who have a TIA eventually will have a stroke, one-third will continue to experience occasional TIAs and the final third will not experience further symptoms. Your doctor will perform tests to determine the cause of TIAs and treat the problem through surgery or medication, if possible.
Being Prepared
There is no way of knowing when a stroke will occur. However, there are critical actions that can happen in case of the onset of a stroke.
If you start to show signs of a stroke, be prepared to take action.
  • Do not ignore warning signs , even if they go away.
  • Record the time the first symptoms began. Timing is critical, because it determines which medications can be given.
  • Record how the first symptoms began.
  • Do not eat or drink anything. One of the problems associated with stroke is difficulty swallowing, so eating or drinking could be dangerous.
  • Collect any medications that you currently are taking. (Bring the bottles, if possible.) If the bottles are not available, write them down along with the dosages or be sure to tell the paramedics or emergency department.
  • Call 911 right away. Do not try to drive yourself to the hospital.
  • If someone around you may be having a stroke, take action for them by calling 911 right away.
Prior to ever having a stroke, you can make preparations. “Emergency department professionals would love to know the patient’s medical history and all of their current medications,” Wenger says. “Sometimes things that do not seem relevant could be extremely important.” The following tips will help you be prepared in case of a stroke.
  • Be sure to keep a record of any medications you may be taking.
  • Prepare a health record that is easily accessible in an emergency and include doctor names, previous surgical procedures and health conditions.
  • Prepare a list of emergency phone numbers near the phone or in your wallet or purse.
  • Find out which hospitals are nearest you and which ones have stroke centers with 24-hour care. UT Medical Center offers the highest level of technology, the best trained physicians and nurses and a stroke team available 24 hours a day.
Most Likely Stroke Victims
Anyone can experience a stroke. Strokes can occur at any age and in any race or gender. Your risk of stroke, however, doubles every 10 years after the age of 35. Risk factors that you cannot change include age, race, gender, family history of strokes and any prior heart attacks or strokes.
Although anyone can have a stroke, certain risk factors may increase your chances including the following.
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Atrial Fibrillation
  • TIAs
  • Obesity
  • Excessive Alcohol Use
  • Some Illegal Drugs
Even though there are treatments for stroke, prevention is key. Wenger concludes, “Smoking cessation and hypertension management, would be so much more effective and efficient than trying to treat stroke after one occurs.”
If you or someone around you is experiencing symptoms of stroke, call 911 immediately. To find out if you are at risk for a stroke, make an appointment with your doctor or call 1.877.UT.CARES (1.877.882.2737) to make an appointment today!        Please join me today in praying for all those that have been affected by stroke, whether it be yourself, a friend, or a dear loved one.  Ask God to bless over them, and continue to heal them.


Godsgalnj said...

Thank you for all the useful information on strokes. A family member had a few in the past and one a little earlier this year as well.

Keep staying strong!

Love Bears All Things said...

Very good information. We had a program on Strokes just last month at our club meeting....I hope you're doing well, Denise.
Mama Bear

HOOTIN' ANNI said...

What an amazing, informative and educational post. I thank you for sharing this huge, vast, amount of things to know. You are a treasure!!

I do hope you're coming along well with recovery.

A link to my Friday post: Part 1 of our Road Trip

Hope you have a lovely weekend.

Angela said...

My mother was having signs for about two weeks (after a biopsy she had). She thought it was because of that..I praise God my dad was able to call 911 and have her brought to the hospital so quickly. She is coming along and God IS good. It will be three months on the 15th that she had her stroke. I've been praying for you precious sister. Thank you for sharing this..for allowing us to gather with you in prayer.Thanks for the Christmas card. ((hugs))

Cranberry Morning said...

Thank you Denise for this very helpful info. Hope you have a blessed weekend and Lord's Day.

From the Heart said...

Will continue to pray for you and others who have had strokes. My mother had a lot of strokes during the latter part of her life. She was 89 when the last one she had made it impossible for her to recover. But she was a precious Christian and was ready to meet her Lord. I compared her to Paul, she had run her race and finished her course and was ready to go home. I miss her but she's in a better place.

rcubes said...

My mother died from stroke sister.I'm glad you're educating others through this post. Thinking of you and praying for others also affected by this. God bless and have a great weekend.

Sue said...

Thank you for this information Denise. Hope you and your love bug are doing well.

Sassy Granny ... said...

Wow, what a gold mine of wisdom!

My mother had a stroke that claimed her life in 1976. But my uncle had a stroke from which he actually recovered to live well for many more years.

I am so grateful yours has not been so severe; and I hope you live many more long & fulfilling years.

Peggy said...

WOW!!! Thanks Denise... such useful and pertinent information we all need to know and be aware of to prevent and circumvent if at all possible! I pray that all this information will help us and you to stay strong and keep fighting the good fight!

I will be praying for your upcoming CAT that all swelling will not only have stopped but decreased or miraculously gone! Glory, Hallellujah! Praising and believing this for you! That your healing will be complete, arteries unblocked and all glory to the King!

This will truly keep me on my knees and thankful!

We will keep praying FEARLESSLY for you and the others like Angela's mom, Joanne Heim, families involved and all those in need of the healing touch of God!

Love you and pressing on in prayer believing,