Medical Minute: Stroke Awareness
May is National Stroke Awareness Month, a time to bring awareness to a major medical issue that impacts families around the globe. Someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds. Every 3.5 minutes, someone dies of stroke, and more than 795,000 people in the U.S. have a stroke each year. 610,000 of those are first or new strokes.
"It is critically important that we take warning signs very seriously," Aaron Loochtan, DO, vascular neurologist at OhioHealth said. "Time lost is brain lost, and we need to be sure to get folks to the hospital if they exhibit signs and symptoms of a stroke. Outcomes are better if we can start the live-saving treatments earlier," Dr. Loochtan said.
What can we all do to turn some of those numbers around? Well, it starts with knowing your numbers.
Risk factors include:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol
If you smoke – quit. If you have high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, or high cholesterol, getting them under control will greatly reduce your chances of having a stroke.
When it comes to treating a stroke, time is of the essence. If a stroke victim gets medical attention within three hours of symptom onset, they’re less likely to have long-term disability.
Many strokes can be treated with a drugs that dissolve the blood clots that obstruct blood flow to the brain. But the window of opportunity to start treating stroke patients is three hours, so in order to be evaluated and receive treatment, patients need to get to the hospital within 60 minutes.
Use the acronym BE FAST to remember how to spot the signs:
If you or someone around you shows any signs of a stroke, it’s imperative to be fast and seek care immediately.
Balance: loss of balance or coordination
Eyes: trouble seeing out of one or both eyes
Once at the hospital, there are a number of life-saving techniques that can happen. To learn more about that, and other stroke information from OhioHealth, click here.