Do You Know the Signs of a Stroke?

May 31, 2013

May is Stroke Awareness Month

Attend church services, stop by a friend’s house to visit – it was the usual Sunday routine until 52-year old Angie Crump was hit by a blinding headache.

“It was like no headache I’d ever had before,” said Crump. “It was right behind my eye. I was feeling weird and dizzy.”

It didn’t take long for Angie’s husband, George, to recognize something was wrong. He noticed her slurred speech and inability to focus her eyes.

“I knew I needed to act fast. I just acted on impulse and got her to the hospital as quickly as I could,” he said.

Angie was having a stroke – some call it a “brain attack” – a clot in a brain artery was stopping blood flow. The longer this goes on, the longer the parts of the brain the artery feeds can’t get blood or oxygen. Brain cells can die, causing permanent damage.

“Stroke is a time-sensitive diagnosis,” says Steve Belinga, MD, Mercy Clinic neurologist. “Time is brain and the sooner you get help, the better the damage can be controlled or even reversed.”

Some of the most common signs of stroke include:

  • Weakness on one side of body
  • Facial droop
  • Slurred speech
  • Double vision/vision loss
  • Severe headache
  • Numbness of arms/legs

Because up to 80 percent of strokes are preventable, people can make changes in order to lower their chance of stroke.

“Risk behavior modification is key. Those at risk for stroke are very similar to people at risk for heart attacks. This includes people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, physical inactivity, obesity and family history of stroke,” said Dr. Belinga. “People can reduce their risk by quitting smoking, increasing activities and exercise, eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, and maintaining an ideal body weight.” 

During Stroke Awareness Month, Mercy reminds everyone, “If you or someone you know is experiencing one or more signs or symptoms of stroke, call 9-1-1 immediately,” said Dr. Belinga “Every minute counts, and the sooner you seek medical attention, the sooner we can assess your condition and intervene.”

Since she sought help so quickly, Crump’s prognosis is good and with continued therapy and rehabilitation she is getting stronger every day.

“Progress is not easy but it’s a blessing to have a chance to return to life as it was before the stroke.”

Media Contacts