National Stroke Awareness Month
Please dial 911 or immediately go to the emergency room if you or a loved one are experiencing signs or symptoms of a stroke. This post is intended to promote awareness of stroke in conjunction with National Stroke Awareness Month and is not intended to be a substitute for advice from a medical professional.
By the numbers
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 795,000 people in the United States suffer a stroke each year. Of those, strokes kill 140,000 Americans each year, or alternatively, are responsible for 1 out of every 20 deaths. In addition to the emotional and physical toll on families and loved ones, strokes are responsible for an estimated $34 billion in losses each year due to health care services, medicines to treat stroke, and missed days of work.
Without question, strokes wreak havoc on thousands of lives and have a major impact on our economy.
The CDC advises that early evaluation and treatment can be a major factor in determining the prognosis of a stroke patient. In fact, patients who arrive at the emergency department within 3 hours of their first symptoms often have less disability 3 months after a stroke than those who received delayed care. The chances of survival are greater when emergency treatment begins quickly.
Signs and Symptoms of a Stroke
The CDC advises that the following symptoms can be signs of stroke in both men and women:
- Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding speech
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or lack of coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
When in doubt, please remember this simple mnemonic:
It is also recommended that patients suspected of experiencing a stroke to take note of the time symptoms first appear. This information can help health care providers determine what methods of treatment are still available.
How is stroke diagnosed?
In addition to the clinical symptoms that make up the FAST test, strokes are diagnosed by medical imaging, usually a head CT with contrast or an MRI. The purpose of these studies is to determine if you are suffering from a blockage of a blood vessel in your brain (ischemic stroke) or if a blood vessel has ruptured causing bleeding (hemorrhagic stroke). The treatment for these different types of stroke varies greatly so it is important to timely determine which type of stroke the patient is experiencing.
Who is at risk for stroke?
While the majority of stroke patients are older than 60, up to 10% of all strokes occur in those under age 45. In 2009, 34% of people hospitalized for stroke were under age 65. It is important to remember that strokes can occur at any age and can be caused by a variety of factors. Some of the most common stroke related factors included, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity, and diabetes. The CDC advises that 1 in 3 adults in the US has at least one of these 3 conditions.
The experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Bailey Glasser have handled cases related to strokes. Whether a stroke diagnosis was missed or delayed, medical imaging was misinterpreted, or treatment was unnecessarily delayed, our team of experienced medical malpractice attorneys is here when you need us most. Please do not hesitate to contact our team if you or a loved one have questions about the medical care you have received.