Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Stroke Awareness Challenges

If you were to ask people what disease they are afraid of the most, the large percentage of older adults will say- stroke. This is because most of the people have seen someone with stroke’s devastating and disabling effects. Still, most of us are not as aggressive about seeking medical attention for stroke as we are for chest pain. Some of the reasons for this are:

1. The symptoms of stroke can be variable and sometimes confusing. Some of the symptoms of stroke could be non-specific. For example, severe dizziness, a common symptom can also be suggestive of a stroke. This is an understandable challenge. However, we need to be aware of common symptoms of stroke and seek emergent medical attention for the same.
2. The treatment of stroke has conventionally been conservative. Most of the people think that all the hospital is going to do is perform some tests and start physical therapy- so why hurry? Some patients with stroke now can be given clot-buster medicine leading to 100% recovery in certain cases. The ‘clot-buster’ however, can only be given within three hours of onset of symptoms. Like heart attack, time is of the essence in case of stroke.
3. Some of us might have experienced difficulty speaking or weakness of one side of the body that recovered on its own. It is called transient ischemic attack (TIA). We do not see any reason to seek medical attention once the symptoms are gone. This is because most of us are not aware of the fact that the chance of having a big stroke within a few weeks after a TIA is very high. through action


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