Thursday, May 08, 2008


I just read a Reuters article on Yahoo! News about stroke and how more than half the population does not know the stroke warning signs. As a person with (controlled) high blood pressure, this is a subject that is very relevant to me. What many people don’t realize is that this subject is relevant to everyone. Even if you are not a candidate for stroke or you don't have hypertension, chances are that you interact with people every day who are at risk. Stroke is the third highest killer in the United States, only surpassed by heart disease and cancer.

Stroke can hit at any age. If your blood pressure is high and you are not treating it, you can have a stroke at a young age. I knew a guy who was in his early thirties – he had a good profession, was active and vibrant, loved to have a good time, was just married, and had just bought his first house. He was out on the golf course on a Sunday morning and he had a massive stroke. His life has never been the same. He is still partially paralyzed on his right side, and his speech is still affected. It's been about twelve years since his stroke.

So, know the warning signs:

"Stroke warning signs include sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side; sudden confusion or difficulty speaking; sudden trouble walking, dizziness or loss of balance; sudden trouble with vision in one eye or both; and severe headache with no known cause." Reuters - Health News

The faster treatment is given, the greater the chance for more complete recovery.

If you are unsure if someone is having a stroke, ask the person to smile or to lift their arms. If the smile is lopsided and the person can only lift one arm, the are almost definitely having a stroke. A stroke happens on one side of the brain, affecting the function of the opposite side of the body, so if a person can control one side but not the other, this is a very good sign that a stroke is happening.

Call for paramedics immediately. Don't try to take the stroke victim to the hospital yourself. When the EMT's arrive, they can assess the patient and begin treatment before they get to the hospital. Also, in most ER's, if a patient arrives in an ambulance, they will be seen to immediately. Walk-ins are often viewed as not so critical, after all, they walked in.

Also, have your blood pressure checked regularly. You can use the machines that you find at the pharmacy, (though they are not highly accurate, they will at least let you see if there is cause for concern). You can also walk into any fire house and the EMT's there will check your blood pressure. Controlling hypertension is as simply as taking a pill everyday. Getting my hypertension under control has changed my life.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home