Friday, March 20, 2009

Women need care, too

One of my news alerts pointed me to this disturbing article: Women less likely to receive critical care after a stroke, MSU researchers find.

Women are 30 percent less likely than men to receive a critical clot-busting drug than can limit brain damage after a stroke, according to a Michigan State University study.

The study findings were presented Feb. 19 in San Diego at the International Stroke Conference, organized by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association.

Tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, first approved as a treatment in the mid-1990s, is a potent blood thinner used to dissolve artery-clogging clots, which cause most strokes. As part of its study, a team of MSU researchers reviewed all stroke studies published between 1995 and March 2008 that presented data on tPA treatment rates. Eighteen studies provided data on more than 2.3 million patients.

A recent posting mentioned that stroke symptoms are often missed for the under-55 crowd. My stroke occurred at age 39 and fortunately, it was recognized. Still, it's clear that people who do not fit in the mold of a classic stroke patient - elderly male - need help, too.

This shows further evidence that if you even think you might be having a stroke, call 911, get somewhere and get a satisfactory answer. And if you are getting someone else to an emergency room, you might have to be that person's advocate for proper care.

So learn stroke signs. Don't hesitate. Waiting might be fatal.

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