WMC nurologist talks about signs and symptoms of a stroke

Dr. David Wheeler is contributing to a month-long conversation with Wyoming News Now about strokes, how to prevent them and more
Published: May. 3, 2021 at 6:00 AM CDT
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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - May is stroke awareness month. Dr. David Wheeler from Wyoming Medical Center met with a Wyoming News Now reporter about the signs and symptoms of a stroke.

What is a stroke?

“A stroke is caused by the sudden interruption of blood flow to the brain. This can happen either because an artery in the brain gets plugged up or sometimes arteries can rupture and cause bleeding into the brain. As a result, when you know of course the brain relies on blood flow to stay alive and when you lose blood flow to the brain brain cells start to die as the brain cells start to die we develop neurologic symptoms like sudden onset of weakness on one side of the body, loss of ability to speak or loss of vision loss of coordination so in general. If you have the sudden onset of any of those symptoms there’s a good chance you’re having a stroke because of that,” Wheeler said.

What are the risk factors of a stroke?

“The most important risk factor is, of course, the older you get the greater the chance you’re going to have a stroke but there’s not much we can do about that. Other things to be aware of are if you have a history or a family history of high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes. These are all medical conditions that increase in risk for stroke that can be treated to help lower your risk. Some things people can do for themselves is try to get more exercise, watch how we eat to maintain a healthy weight and maybe most importantly of all don’t smoke cigarettes. If you’re smoking now please try to quit as soon as possible,” Wheeler said.

Can strokes be prevented?

“If you’re aware of the risk factors of stroke there are often things that you can do about it so if you have high blood pressure high cholesterol or even a family history of those things work with your doctor to try to get those things under good control. If you’re a cigarette smoker stop smoking right away. All of us can do with a little bit more exercise and watching how we eat a healthy balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and don’t overeat,” Wheeler said.

What are stroke symptoms?

“We encourage people to know the signs and symptoms of stroke and think FAST It is an acronym that stands for face arm speech and time. If the face is drooping on one side or if they can’t hold both arms up in the air or if they are having difficulty speaking or understanding speech act fast because time is brain. Call 911 whenever you’re worried about a stroke,” Wheeler said.

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