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Quick Action Needed in Stroke Prevention: 3 Stroke Stories

Stroke, a leading cause of disability affects 75,000 Americans each year. This occurs although 80% of strokes can be prevented. If you suspect that you or your loved one is having a stroke please act quickly because for every minute delayed in seeking help brain cells die.

Three stroke stories, (permission granted) will be shared. Perhaps these will help to show the importance of acting quickly if you or someone else is suspected of having a stroke. Due to privacy, fictitious names will be used.

What is a Stroke?

A stroke occurs when there is a sudden disruption of blood flow by a clot or a plaque, or a blood vessel bursts resulting in spillage of blood into the surrounding tissues.

Story #1: Mr. Cold: Confusion, headache dizziness...

Mr. C has a history of diabetes and hypertension. After interviewing his wife, I learned the following. He had more than one stroke symptom the day before the stroke but refused to go to the hospital. He complained of a headache, was confused, dizzy, unable to eat, sweating a lot, blood sugar was elevated (he is diabetic). The family knew something was wrong but went along with his refusal. In this case, 911 should have been called immediately despite his refusal. After all, he was confused. Within 24 hours he had a major stroke at home. He fainted.

Take Away(s)

  1. Acting quickly might have prevented some of the damage to the brain.

  2. If it is obvious that you are observing warning signs or symptoms of a stroke please call 911 immediately, despite the person’s refusal to get emergency help. Keep in mind they might be confused.

  3. Sudden headache and dizziness are two symptoms of stroke to look out for.

Story #2: Coworker Ms. Brown: Severe unusual headache for three days

My coworker, a rehabilitation nurse, complained of an unusually severe headache for three days. Initially, she did see her physician who prescribed her something for the headache, but there was no relief. She described the headache as one that felt like her head was splitting in two. On the third day, she asked her son to drive her to the hospital’s emergency room. After evaluation, she was taken immediately to surgery for hemorrhagic stroke. Unfortunately, she was unable to continue working as a nurse because of the effects of the stroke.

There was quite a delay of time in this case. Three days wait is a long delay before seeking help. Sometimes people think that they need to drive themselves to the hospital or have someone drive them during an emergency such as in suspected stroke. Please don’t ever drive yourself or have someone drive you to the hospital. Doing so wastes precious time. Again 911 should have been called instead.

Take Away(s)

  1. If you are experiencing an unusual sudden severe headache, please call 911 immediately.

  2. Complaint of a sudden severe headache is a warning sign of a hemorrhagic stroke

  3. In an emergency don’t drive to the hospital. There is no time to lose in stroke prevention. Every second counts!

Story #3: Ms. Kay: Slurred speech

I met Ms. Kay, a former member of the church I attended. Because of my interest in stroke, and concern for the patient, another church member and I visited her at her home. She told me her story. She said that one day she was talking to a friend on the phone and the friend recognized that her voice became slurred and asked if she was okay. Instead of calling for emergency help right away, she decided to take a shower to freshen up. She did not know the warning signs and symptoms of a stroke. While she was in the bathroom, she had a stroke and fell while in the tub.

Take Away(s)

  1. If you are having sudden unusual symptoms of a stroke or heart attack please call 911.

  2. Immediate action saves the brain. For every minute that a stroke is not treated, a person loses about 1.9 billion neurons (brain cells).

  3. This is not the time to take a bath or complete house chores. Every second counts!

Remember, for every second of delayed stroke treatment, ….brain cells die. It is important to act quickly, in stroke prevention, even if you are experiencing only one symptom such as the headache mentioned in the second story. If you suspect you are having a stroke there is no time to take a shower or finish any chore at home. Call 911 immediately! This can help to reduce disabilities that accompany a stroke or in some cases prevent death. If you lose time, you will lose brain.


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