15 years ago, stroke was the third popular cause of death in the US. However remarkable developments in neuro-imaging technologies and pharmaceuticals have reduced the number of deaths from these causes. Nowadays, people are more likely to die of some heart disease than stroke- one of the biggest differences between the two conditions.
Time is a significant factor in this case. A person loses about two million brain cells with each minute when a stroke is not treated. In an hour, that person’s brain will age almost four years. The important issue here is that stroke conditions worsen quickly.
Denial or Ignorance
Stroke, however, is preventable as well as curable. However too many people delay treatment according to Carolyn Brockington, MD, director of the Mount Sinai Stroke Center, New York City. She says that since stroke is pretty terrifying, it often leads to people delaying treatment. When she asked patients as to why they delayed in calling 911, they mostly responded that they waited to see if it would go away. It baffles us to hear that people would actually do that. The logical reasoning behind this occurrence seems to be that they often feel that the symptoms arise for something else.
Stroke can occur silently. It happens when blood flow to a part of the brain gets cut off. However it is not noticeable. Only a brain scan may be able to tell you if you have a permanent damage if you go for a check- up for a different reason. Listed below are five signs of stroke that people mistake for something else.
Signs of Stroke Ignored by Most
1. Extreme headaches (Migraines)
Those who’ve been diagnosed with migraine, it is justified. However, if you don’t usually get these, it might be a different reason. Ralph Sacco, MD, professor of neurology at University of Miami North School of Medicine, said that migraine pains feel similar to a stroke as they have the same neurological symptoms and so it is best to always call for help and let the experts look at it.
Symptoms of migraine with frequency are:
Throbbing pain – 85%
Sensitivity to Light- 80%
Sensitivity to Sound- 76%
Blurry vision – 44%
2. Sudden thinking problems (Fatigue)
Due to our fast-paced world, it is normal for us to have sudden cognitive issues due to exhaustion. However to have this problem over and over is not normal. Dr. Brockington says that it is not okay to not be able to speak or think up a word for a long time.
3. Slurred Speech (Medications)
America and many other countries have widespread anxiety problem and also opioid issues. Also, doctors have created a further issue by prescribing huge levels of prescription drugs. Slurred speech is often a side effect of prescription medicines. However if you don’t usually get this after taking medicines, it is goof to seek help in this case, especially if more such signs are also there.
4. Numbness (Compressed Nerve)
We often wake up with numbness in our limbs but immediately get help if it doesn’t go after a few minutes. If you feel the numbness for a long time, try and raise your arms over your head together. If one starts to fall, you might be having a stroke. Same happens when one side of your mouth starts to droop when you smile.
5. Vision problems (Fatigue, old age)
Vision problems can occur due to exhaustion or old age but when these problems include blurriness, double vision or loss of sight, it might be a stroke. Obstructed blood vessel to the brain can cause these problems.
Harvard Medical School suggests seven measures for diabetes:
- lower blood pressure
- lose weight
- work out more
- treat arterial fibrillation
- stop smoking
- treat diabetes
The National Stroke Association suggest the F-A-S-T method to identify a stroke:
(F)ace: When one side of your mouth droops when you smile
(A)rms: When you lift both arms and one starts to fall
(S)peech: When your speech is slurred or odd
(T)ime: Call 911 immediately of you see these signs.