Saturday, April 18, 2009

Signs of a Stroke?.....

I copied this info from here, but much the same can be found about the health network on the internet.

Stroke: Know the Symptoms
The warning signs of a stroke may include:
  • Visual problems like a sudden change in vision or sudden double vision
  • Numbness of the face, weak arms or legs, weakness on one side of the body
  • Disorientation, problems with speech (e.g., slurred speech), and/or trouble understanding others
  • Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Painful headache that comes on suddenly and has no known cause
Stroke: Risk Factors
Some stroke factors can be controlled; others can’t. Here are some key risk factors that you should be aware of:
  • Age. Once you turn 55, your risk of stroke practically doubles every decade.
  • Family and personal history. If a close family member has had a stroke, or if you have had a stroke, TIA ( transient ischemic attack, a small stroke that causes little or no damage), or heart attack, your stroke risk is increased.
  • Other health conditions.High blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, atrial fibrillation, and sickle cell anemia are all factors that increase your risk for stroke.
  • Your lifestyle.Smoking cigarettes, eating a high-fat and/or high-sodium diet, being obese, and not getting enough exercise can all increase your risk of stroke.
Stroke: Early Treatment
Every second counts when restoring blood flow to the brain because with every second lost, more brain cells die. Early recognition of stroke symptoms is crucial — the sooner treatment is given, the better.
One of the best treatments for blood clots — the cause of ischemic strokes — is tissue plasminogen activator, or t-PA, a clot-busting drug that works quickly to dissolve a clot and restore blood flow to the brain. But it must be given within the first few hours after symptoms start. While t-PA is not appropriate for people who suffer a hemorrhagic (bleeding) stroke, about 80 percent of strokes are caused by blood clots.
Anti-clotting medications and other blood thinners may also be given to people who have had an ischemic stroke, to help reduce the risk of another blood clot forming. Emergency surgery may also be done to open a blocked artery or repair a burst blood vessel.
The best thing to do if you or someone you know may be experiencing symptoms of stroke is to call 911 to get the most immediate medical attention possible.

Signs of a stroke?... Maybe, maybe not...

On Wednesday afternoon, I was taking a short nap, and when I woke up I felt very groggy and sick like I had before when I was having a stroke. I tried to get into the house from my bedroom, but had a very hard time walking. My right leg was very uncooperative, and my whole body felt numb, especially my head. It felt detached and light, like it was floating off somewhere separate from the rest of me. My face was undergoing the numb tingling feeling like a plastic mask over my nose and cheeks.

I stumbled into the house, and could only mumble stupid noises at my dad, who told me to lay on the couch. I laid down for a while, but the bad feeling and confusion continued to build. Finally I tried to speak to dad to tell him I thought something was wrong, but by that time my words were coming out as unrecognizable gibberish syllables. I sat helpless and gibbering for a time while dad deliberated with mom about what to do, and they finally decided to call 911 for help.
I was about past noticing by then, but I understand that a whole herd of friend and neighbors showed up to guide the ambulance and help load me up.
I don´t remember much of the long night, after that, but apparently after some deliberation st Sanpete Valley Hospital, I ended up riding in the ambulance with Shannon Nuttall and friends to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, where I was admitted for suspected stroke.
To make a long story short, the Neurologist, Dr. Butrum, ordered a MRI brain scan, and found no new stroke damage. Either the new deficits are short-term artifacts of basilar migraine spasms, or they are products of TIAs affecting areas previously stroke-damaged brain stem areas with new deficits. In any case, the major aphasia cleared up fairly quickly, after a rather frightful episode of speechlessness.
Let that be a lesson to all. The call to 911 was exactly the right thing to do, because there is no way short of MRI scan to distinguish quickly between symptoms of ischemia and other neurological weirdness. In this case, MRI is the right tool, at the right time. I spent another night in the hospital, under the watchful care of several kind and compassionate staff, then was released to go home on Friday. Thanks to doctors and care providers for quick thinking and acting -- it might have been otherwise.


Sarah Cobabe Thomas said...

Jim, I am glad to see you posting again. Each time I was pregnant I had trouble with migraines, and they all followed exactly the symptoms of stroke - so strange. I am really lucky because so far, that is the only time I have had that kind of a migraine.

What an adventurous life you lead!

achick47 said...

I am so glad you are better. I can so relate to a body run by a rogue brain that insults you. MS will strike with many of the same symptums as a stroke and yes MRI is our only friend. I often am amased at the large impact such a small organ has upon us. I follow your blog because I feel a strong conection to you both spritually and physically and yet I have never met you. You bring me hope when mine is low. You make me laugh at myself when I see me in you. You encourage me when you speak of your own doubts and fears. I so love you as a brother in Christ and admire you for all your efforts to live as normally as possible.
Again thank you for being you and shareing your life adventures with me and the world.
Respectfully and Prayfully your Blog friend Angel