Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability in the United States and stroke misdiagnosis is a major healthcare problem. Learning the risk factors and warning signs of a stroke can help you to better advocate for yourself and those you love. If you believe you or someone you’re with may be having a stroke, pay close attention to the time symptoms began. Certain treatment options may depend on the time that has passed.
Symptoms & Signs of a Stroke
- Trouble speaking or understanding what others are saying. This might include slurring words or having difficulty understanding speech.
- Sudden onset of a severe headache. This may be accompanied by dizziness and vomiting.
- Paralysis, weakness, or numbness of the face, arm, or leg. This may develop suddenly and often affects just one side of the body
- Problems seeing in one or both eyes. This might include blurred, dimmed, or double vision in one or both eyes.
- Trouble walking. This may include dizziness, loss of coordination, or difficulty walking.
- Fainting and confusion.
Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any of the above signs of a stroke. A good test if you notice these signs in someone you’re with is remembering to act “FAST”. FACE – Ask the person to smile. Does one side of their face droop? ARMS – Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one drift downward or is unable to rise? SPEECH – Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange? TIME – If you observe any of these signs, it’s time to call 911 or seek immediate emergency medical help.
Understand the risk factors of a stroke
There are many risk factors for a stroke. Some are lifestyle choices that you can control, others are medical in nature. Reduce your stroke risk by working to reduce your risk factors wherever possible. Risk factors of stroke include:
- High blood pressure
- Obesity/poor diet
- High cholesterol
- Sickle cell disease
- Family history of stroke
- Cardiovascular disease
- Physical inactivity
- Heavy or binge drinking
- Illegal drugs
- Previous stroke or transient ischemic attack
- Birth control pills
As we mentioned and you can see with the risk factors, some are controllable. Working with your family doctor to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol in the normal range, as well as quitting smoking and cutting down on drinking can help. Getting active, eating healthy, staying at a healthy weight, and lowering your stress levels are all controllable and can help you reduce the risk of stroke as well.
Type of strokes
An ischemic stroke happens when a blood vessel supplying blood to your brain gets blocked by a blood clot. The majority of strokes are ischemic. Symptoms of an ischemic stroke can include many of those we mentioned above. You are more likely to have an ischemic stroke if you are over age 60, smoke, and have high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, or diabetes.
A hemorrhagic stroke happens when bleeding in the brain damages nearby cells. The most common causes of this type of stroke are high blood pressure, injury, bleeding disorders, cocaine use, and an aneurysm. Symptoms can include intense headache, confusion, nausea or vomiting, sensitivity to light, problems with vision, and fainting.
Transient Ischemic Attack or Mini Stroke
A TMI or mini-stroke is a temporary blockage of the blood flow to your brain. The symptoms might last for just a few minutes or may last longer. The symptoms of TIA are similar to those we mentioned above under the symptoms & signs of a stroke. Risk factors can include age, obesity, smoking, family history, atrial fibrillation, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and heart disease.
Being better prepared and knowing the warning signs of a stroke can help you seek treatment faster. Teach your children and others in your family about FAST. Precious moments count when it comes to a stroke. When a stroke victim’s signs and symptoms have been misdiagnosed, it can lead to a tragic delay in treatment. If you believe you or a family member are the victims of stroke misdiagnosis or a delay in diagnosis and treatment on the part of a medical professional, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. A misdiagnosed stroke can have long-lasting consequences. Contact Distasio & Kowalski stroke misdiagnosis lawyers to see if you have a medical malpractice case.
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Read a blog about the Failure to Diagnose a Stroke.