Stroke Symptoms Demand Immediate Action

May 7, 2009

First You Have to Recognize the Symptoms

According to the American Stroke Association, the following are warning signs of a stroke. If you or someone with you experiences one or more of these symptoms, call 911 immediately.

• Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side
• Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
• Sudden trouble seeing with one or both eyes
• Sudden dizziness, trouble walking,or loss of balance or coordination
• Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

Eighty Percent of Strokes Are Preventable

In recognition of May as National Stroke Month, Cassandra Bittenbender, MD, family practitioner, stresses the importance of taking steps now to reduce your chances of having a stroke. “Eighty percent of strokes are preventable if you manage the risk factors that are within your control,” said Dr. Bittenbender. Here is a list of steps she recommends to reduce your risk:

• Keep high blood pressure and high cholesterol under control
• If you have diabetes, keep your blood sugar under control
• If you smoke, stop immediately
• Limit or eliminate alcohol use
• Lose weight if you are overweight
• Exercise regularly
• Limit intake of sodium/salt

“Stroke is one of America’s leading causes of death in both men and women. It’s also the No.1 cause of adult disability. The faster you recognize symptoms and get help, the more likely it is that death or long-term disability can be prevented. The window of opportunity is extremely small, only three hours from the onset of symptoms. Immediate medical help is essential.”

Cassandra Bittenbender, MD
Board Certified Family Medicine
Floyd Memorial Medical Group