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Prevention, speed of treatment are key for strokes

Staff writer

Speed is essential in treatment of a stroke. So is prevention.

The three most common types of stroke are transient ischemic attacks, sometimes called mini-strokes; hemorrhagic strokes, caused by bleeding in the brain; and ischemic strokes, caused by blockage of blood flow to the brain and accounting for about 87% of strokes. Hemorrhagic strokes are the most likely strokes to be fatal.

If a person thinks someone has had a stroke, Marion physician Don Hodson says, he or she should ask the person to smile. Both sides of the mouth should curl up. Watch for only one side curling, a blank face, or inability to speak properly.

If the person seems partially paralyzed, that’s a likely sign of a stroke.

If a stroke is suspected, the victim should not be driven to an emergency room, Hodson says an ambulance is needed so emergency medical technicians or paramedics can begin treatment right away.

“We normally won’t even bring you to a local hospital,” Hodson said. “We usually send them straight to Ascension Via Christi St. Francis. They have the interventions to go in and clean out the artery. That would be the place everyone should go.”

St. Francis also is equipped with new technology to stop bleeding with a hemorrhagic stroke.

Sometimes, if a patient does go to a local hospital and the emergency department has time, a CT scan will be done.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 795,000 Americans suffer a stroke each year. Of those, about 610,000 are first-time stroke sufferers.

CDC says 80% of strokes can be prevented. Many preventative steps are common-sense.

High blood pressure, inactivity, and the standard American diet are the “biggest offenders,” Hodson said.

“Animal fat is one of the biggest things for clogging the arteries,” he said. “If we all ate perfectly and exercised and didn’t use salt, that would prevent 80% of all chronic disease.”

Many people also fail to take their blood pressure medication, Hodson said.

Last modified March 20, 2024

 

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