LMC Medial Update: Recognizing the signs of a stroke
May 9, 2013 at 8:06 PM CST
May 9, 2013
May is National Stroke Awareness Month, a time to educate yourself on how to recognize the symptoms, and learn how strokes can be prevented. Many people confuse a heart attack and a stroke. They both happen the same way, but attack different organs. "On a stroke what you get is a vessel that is occluded in your brain, in a heart attack what you get is a vessel that is occluded in the heart." Doctor Luis Pellicia says it's important to recognize when a person is having a stroke. The symptoms include: sudden numbness of the face arms or legs, confusion and trouble speaking, and trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of coordination. "When we look at them the first thing is, we're going to ask them to raise both of their arms, so a person that is having a stroke on the right side of the brain, if I ask him to raise both of his arms, he's only going to be able to raise his right arm only, won't be able to raise the left side." He says if your family member suffers a stroke, it's important to note the time the symptoms started, and get to the emergency room as soon as possible. "If you are able to show up within three hours of the onset of the symptoms, we can actually give a medication that would break that clot, and most of the time it would even revert the damage that has been done by the stroke almost completely." While getting immediate treatment is important, Pellicia says be prepared for long-term effects after a stroke. "The weakness that they have is going to be also most likely irreversible, so they will have problems with mobility, with talking, depending again on which area of the brain is effected." So the best thing a person can do is try to prevent a stroke from happening in the first place. "Not smoking, try to drink in moderation, exercise, try to keep a healthy weight, and a healthy diet, those are the most common and easiest things that you can do to prevent them." If someone you know does suffer a stroke, remember the best way to get treatment fast is to call 911.