World Stroke Day 2013
Today is World Stroke Day, and in recognition I would like to ask you to familiarize yourself with the signs of a stroke and what to do if you or a loved one believes they may be suffering one of the most damaging and preventable conditions affecting people across the country.
Nearly 800,000 Americans suffer a stroke every year, meaning one in six adults will have a stroke in their lifetime. Roughly 90% of these are ischemic strokes, or preventable strokes caused by a clot lodged in a blood vessel. Most survive, but many are left disabled.
The most troubling reports this year say that more people are experiencing strokes at earlier ages. Between 1990 and 2010, the number of strokes among those aged 20 to 64 went up 25%.
The warning signs you may be experiencing a stroke are fairly unique and identifiable, but they still catch many off guard every year. They include:
- Trouble with walking. Many experiencing strokes experience sudden dizziness, loss of coordination, or balance issues. If someone near you begins to exhibit these signs, please help stabilize them and watch carefully to prevent falls.
- Trouble with speaking or understanding. Strokes can cause sudden confusion, which often manifests itself into stark and sudden inability to speak or understand others.
- Paralysis or numbness of face, arm, or leg. Sudden numbness or paralysis, especially on one side of the body, are an immediate warning sign. Try to raise both arms over your head at the same time. If you struggle with one arm, it is highly likely you are suffering a stroke. Similarly, one side of the face may begin to droop or go numb.
- Vision Problems. You may suddenly lose sight or suffer blurred vision in one or both eyes.
- Headache. A sudden and intense headache may appear, which can lead to vomiting and may be related to dizziness.
If any of these symptoms begin to suddenly appear, immediately seek medical attention, even if the symptoms seem to fluctuate or come and go. A stroke requires immediate emergency assistance, and every minute counts. The longer you go without help, the more likely you are to suffer disability of brain damage. Do not attempt to drive yourself to the hospital, but call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.