NINDS Stresses Importance of Knowing Early Symptoms of Stroke
An important key to successful treatment of stroke is knowing the symptoms and what to do if you or someone you know seems to be in the early stages of a stroke.
Thornton: According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, stroke is the number three killer and the leading cause of long-term disability in the United States and more than 700,000 Americans will suffer a stroke each year. An important key to successful treatment of stroke is knowing the symptoms and what to do if you or someone you know seems to be in the early stages of a stroke. Some of the signs and symptoms of a stroke include sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, trouble speaking or understanding speech and severe headache with no known cause. If you are suffering from any of these symptoms or witness them in someone else, every minute counts. Early treatment is vital and potential stroke sufferers need to be treated as soon as possible to have any chance of avoiding long-term disability. Of course, a good way to avoid having a stroke is to avoid the conditions that could lead to one. Dr. Richard T. Benson, a neurologist with the NINDS talks about ways to possibly avoid a stroke.
Benson: The number one modifiable risk factor for stroke is high blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure it's important to take your medication as prescribed and also to follow your blood pressure. A lot of people will take medication but won't follow their blood pressure and it may not be controlled. So it's not enough just to take the medication you have to still follow up and know the numbers. The normal blood pressure is 120 over 80. If you have diabetes you should take your medication or your insulin and watch your diet. If you have high cholesterol you have to take that medication as prescribed, as well as stopping smoking and to exercise.
Thornton: For more information about the symptoms of stroke or stroke prevention, log on to www.ninds.nih.gov/stroke, or call 1-800-352-9424. From the National Institutes of Health, I'm Matt Thornton in Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Matt Thornton
Sound Bite: Dr. Richard T. Benson