Strike the Stroke
Stroke is a very common neurological condition resulting from the lack of blood supply to brain. A common cause of stroke is a clot traveling from the heart or neck arteries and blocking a brain artery. When the blood and oxygen supply is blocked for three minutes, brain cells start to die. Thus, it is very critical to report to the emergency room (ER) whenever there is some acute neurologic deficit such as: one sided weakness in face, arm or leg, confusion or difficulty with speech, loss of sensation, loss of vision or double vision, etc. In the ER, immediate and effective treatment for acute stroke can be initiated if patient reports within 3 hours of symptom onset. It is therefore life-saving to report to ER immediately upon onset of neurological symptoms.
It is critical to be aware of stroke preventative measures. Patients who have high blood pressure, Diabetes, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, atrial fibrillation, and tobacco dependence are prone to having strokes. These factors can all be determined during a routine physical exam with Primary-Care Physician (PCP). Reducing the chance of stroke begins with the management and control of such risk factors as high blood pressure and high cholesterol and moving towards a healthier lifestyle. In the occasion that a patient has a stroke, PCP should send the patient to a Neurologist for further evaluation. Procedures such as MRI brain, 2D Echo, Carotid Doppler, and Sleep study are designed to maximize the effort in stroke management and prevention.
The simplest way in which we can improve the outcome of stroke management (strike the stroke) in the community is by raising awareness about stroke signs/symptoms, emphasizing the importance of controlling the risk factors, and lastly, by reporting to the ER as soon as possible when there are stroke-like symptoms. To alter a common saying, time is brain; meaning the more time one wastes suffering from stroke symptoms, the more brain cells he/she will lose.