Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A story near to my heart - or brain...

Heard this on NPR Monday morning, during my typical 40-minute run in my neighborhood. It includes a story about one woman's stroke, how time was critical and what we can all learn from it.

Back in 1998, I was blessed to receive tPA, a clot-busting drug. Most, as this report notes, are not quite so fortunate. Read, listen and learn:

Drug can stop strokes, but most patients don't get it
Strokes are the third-ranking cause of death and the leading cause of disability. But most stroke specialists think it doesn't have to be so bad.

The vast majority of strokes are caused by a clot that blocks blood flow to part of the brain. Depending on where, victims suffer dizziness, weakness, numbness, loss of speech or other symptoms. Most of the time, the damage is permanent.

Since 1996 there's been an approved drug called t-PA (for tissue plasminogen activator) that, according to some big studies, can often break up the clot, restore blood flow and prevent much permanent damage —- if the drug is given within a few hours of symptom onset.

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