Monday, August 03, 2009

Shedding stroke myths

Lately, I've done a lot of thinking about stroke myths and incorrect assumptions.

This blog touched on those last week, but the topic is too important - life and death important - to leave it alone.

One recent story - Survivors shed stroke myths and issue warnings - is worth reading. It starts with a 22-year-old survivor:
Luckily surviving her stroke, the next year became a battle few people in their 20s endure and next to none expect. Ms [Hana] Ascano began a long road to recovery from trauma to her cerebellum, causing temporary paralysis along the left side of her face and body.

Fighting to smile, sit up and walk again; she endured an arduous journey that she admits was lonely and seemed hopeless at times, but the university student says she is now close to 100 per cent recovered.
So even if someone is young and seemingly healthy, don't ignore stroke symptoms:

To quote the National Stroke Association, those include:
  • SUDDEN numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg - especially on one side of the body.
  • SUDDEN confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
  • SUDDEN trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • SUDDEN trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
  • SUDDEN severe headache with no known cause.
It's important, though, NOT assume you'll see ALL the symptoms. For example, mine didn't cause a headache. A friend's stroke didn't cause speech problems. Just one sign is enough to get someone to a hospital immediately.

Not later. Not tomorrow. Don't let them talk you out of it. Don't wait and see if they feel better.

The difference could be death or a lifelong disability.

(Image from CDC)

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