Wyoming Medical Center wants people to be aware of signs and symptoms of a stroke

Dr. David Wheeler continues a conversation about strokes for stroke awareness month
Signs and symptoms of a stroke
Signs and symptoms of a stroke(Courtesy WMC)
Published: May. 10, 2021 at 6:00 AM CDT
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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - May is stroke awareness month. Dr. David Wheeler, a Wyoming Medical Center Neuooligst, sat down with Wyoming News Now and talks about the sign, symptoms and how important time is.

How serious is a stroke?

“Well, a stroke is of the 5th leading cause of death and the number one cause of long-term disability in the United States. it’s what we call a time-sensitive emergency so the longer the stroke goes on without treatment the greater the probability that the person will die or suffer long-term disability. Fortunately, there are some effecting treatments that we can use to restore blood flow to the brain in a timely manner which can have very significant benefits for the patient but in order to take advantage of that treatment, it’s really important that we know the signs and symptoms of stroke and know that when you’re having a stroke the most important thing to do is to call 911 and get to the hospital as quickly as possible,” Wheeler said.

What are the warning signs?

“There are a number of potential symptoms from a stroke and it depends on which part of the brain is affected but some of the most common symptoms are: sudden onset of weakness or numbness especially on one side of the body, loss of ability to speak or understand speech, loss of vision especially on one side or in one eye and loss of coordination so clumsiness or inability to stand. Typically in a stroke, these symptoms will develop very very suddenly so you can go from feeling completely normal to have these kinds of devastating symptoms from one second to the next. It’s really important often times the person having the stroke is unaware this is happening and so we depend on bystanders and loved ones and caregivers to recognize these symptoms and to be able to evaluate quickly using the FAST protocol which is face arm speech and time to recognize that a stroke may be happening. Remember that time is brain to call 911 to get help immediately,” Wheeler said.

Why is time so important?

“Time is really important because the longer our brain doesn’t have blood flow the more brain cells we lose it’s estimated that we lose almost two million brain cells every minute during a stroke. Once those brain cells are dead you never get them back and so the faster we can restore blood flow either by giving medication to dissolve a blood clot or by actually going up into the brain and taking that blood clot out the greater the chance that the person having a stroke will have a good outcome,” Wheeler said.

Why should someone noticing signs call 911?

“When 911 gets activated the whole stroke team gets alerted that a stroke is on their way in. That means we can have everything ready to go the cat scanners are ready to go the lab is ready to go the doctor is on their way to the emergency room so that we can be there ready to take care of that person just as soon as they get there,” Wheeler said.

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