Timing is Everything If You're Having a Stroke

Being able to identify the risk factors for a stroke can make the difference between permanent disability and death.

Strokes are the leading cause of disability.  According to one report, more women than men have them and end up dying as a result.

Timing is everything when it comes to having the best chances at life and fewest chances for damage or disability. 

As as cardiologist with Christus Health, Dr. Bob Martin is used to emergency calls. But it was one call, two years ago, from his very own wife, that took him and her  by surprise.

He describes what his wife, Pam said on the phone;  "I heard her say 'help me'."

So he raced home; because he knew from that slurred, slow speech,  she was having a stroke. Pam Martin relives, that day,

"My arm got weak and I couldn't control it."  She continues, "It was almost as if it were floating."  Pam says, "All of a sudden I noticed my face was drooping, my arm was weak, my whole right side was paralyzed."

Pam couldn't move.  Her husband was on his way.  He had already called 911.  She says, "It was terrifying. I had been in great health,  So I was shocked."

Men and women can experience similar signs of a heart attack and stroke, Women have more common signs that go unnoticed.  It's important to recognize any signs and call 911 immediately.

Dr. Martin says, "The sooner we get to you, the better."

That's because, the first 3-hours, Dr. Martin says, are the most critical.  He explains, his thoughts as he was driving home. 

While he admittedly called 911, he says there was one a higher power that perhaps was the most important of all;  "I cried out, Lord, whatever you do, don't take the most precious thing in this world away from me."

 On average, most humans have 100-billion brain cells. Two million brain cells die every minute during a stroke, increasing your risk of permanent damage, disability even death.

Pam says, "It's extremely important  to take care of ourselves and to know the risk factors and to know the symptoms so we can be aware when something's going on."

Pam's now doing okay and monitors her blood pressure and sugar. While she made the call to her husband first, she says calling 911 is what she should have done.

 In using the acronym, 'FAST' you can tell if you're having a stroke.

The 'F' stands for Face, 'A' is Arm, 'S' is Speech, and 'T' is Time.  If your face is drooping, arm is paralyzed, speech is slurred, you could be having a stroke; call 911 immediately.








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