Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Just because you're young ...

Recent Reuters article shows that even health professionals can misdiagnose a stroke - for those who don't fit the mold.

Because the typical stroke victim is age 55 or older, an emergency room's staff may not suspect a stroke when a patient under 45 arrives with telltale symptoms, the researchers said.

They urged doctors to be vigilant for signs of a stroke even if the patient is young, noting the importance of quick treatment to prevent lasting damage.

"Accurate diagnosis of stroke on initial presentation in young adults can reduce the number of patients who have continued paralysis and continued speech problems," Dr. Seemant Chaturvedi of Wayne State University in Detroit, one of the researchers, said in a statement.

As other blog entries have noted, the move to get stroke patients to the right location for proper treatment is a great step forward. Another important move is to make sure the people who deal with emergencies - those who answer 911 calls, those who respond to those calls, ER staff, etc. - are aware of the signs and can help make life-saving decisions.

That includes you - even if you're under 40, it can still happen to you. Believe me, I know.

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