Strokes affect more than 800,000 people a year
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"It's one of the main causes of long term disability of adults, older adults and also one of the leading causes of death," said Dr. Jim Storey, a neurologist.
The warning signs of a stroke can include a TIA, transient ischemic attack, otherwise known as a mini stroke.
"The person may have weakness or difficulty speaking that last for ten minutes and then clears up," said Dr. Storey.
If the clot doesn't dissolve as in a TIA it may become a stroke, the classic symptoms are…
"Difficulty speaking loss of vision in one eye weakness on one side of the body, an arm or a leg," Dr. Storey explained.
Delivering a medication called TPA in a timely fashion can greatly improve recovery.
“If they get to the hospital in short time within three hours, possibly a little longer, this can be given to help dissolve the clot," said Dr. Storey.
Coumadin has been given to prevent clots from forming, but that requires strict monitoring.
"People who are on that are constantly going in for blood tests, adjusting the dose up and down. If you eat the wrong thing, green vegetables, it counters the effects," said Dr. Storey.
More recently, Pradaxa is now used in place of Coumadin.
"It helps to prevent clotting in heart without some of the difficult management things you get with Coumadin," said Dr. Storey.
Surgical procedures can include:
"Putting catheter up in the artery trying to retrieve clots from the artery, putting balloons and stents trying to open up the arteries up," said Dr. Storey.
When a stroke is happening, identifying the symptoms immediately can determine a better outcome, but reduce your risk now by living well and knowing the risk factors.
"High blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking and family history,” explained Dr. Storey.