Monday, May 17, 2010

Myth: There's nothing you can do

In keeping of our series of stroke myths for Stroke Awareness Month, here's another one, and it happens too many times: Someone has a stroke, but it's assumed that the best thing to do is wait, that nothing can really be done.

A recent study showed that friends of stroke victims are reluctant to call 911:
a new study shows that most people who realize stroke warning signs are occurring in a friend or family member may not call 911, thereby delaying potentially lifesaving treatment.

This is alarming, Michigan researchers suggest, because people who suffer strokes need immediate assessment and treatment.

But people who would call 911 if they thought a friend or loved one was having a heart attack don't seem to realize that strokes are deadly, too, the researchers write; strokes are the No. 3 killer in the U.S. ...

"Calling 911 gets you to the hospital fast and allows the paramedics to communicate with the hospital so staff are prepared for your arrival," says study researcher Chris Fussman, MS, an epidemiologist with the Michigan Department of Community Health in Lansing, in a news release.
Yes, treat a stroke like a heart attack. Call 911 immediately. If the victim gets into an emergency room soon enough, there are potential treatment options available. But time is critical - every second is critical. Know the signs and symptoms, as described by the National Stroke Association:

F = Face
• Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

A = Arms
• Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S = Speech
• Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Are the words slurred? Can the person repeat the sentence correctly?

T = Time
• If the person shows any of these symptoms, time is important. Call 911 or get to the hospital fast. Brain cells are dying.

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