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The Sooner the Better, Time Makes Difference for Stroke Survival

PHOTO: A new study finds that heart attack patients who take a private vehicle to the hospital delay their treatment by 15 minutes when compared with calling 911 for an ambulance.
PHOTO: A new study finds that heart attack patients who take a private vehicle to the hospital delay their treatment by 15 minutes when compared with calling 911 for an ambulance.
May 1, 2015

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds, and every four minutes, someone dies of a stroke. The American Heart Association uses May as a time to educate people about the risk factors and signs of stroke.

Dr. J. Sharma, a neurologist at Sanford Health in Sioux Falls, said time is critical in dealing with a stroke.

"Time is brain," he said. "If you lose one minute, you can lose more than 2 million brain cells. So our studies have shown if someone is having a stroke, they should come to the ER as soon as possible."

Lauren Forsch, spokeswoman for the American Heart Association, said the association is pleased to see the death rate from stroke is dropping.

"We are so pleased to see that people are getting in sooner," she said. "People are noticing, are educated about the signs and symptoms, and they're getting in to see professionals before those incidents become fatal."

The statistics show that about 80 percent of strokes can be prevented. Sharma said that depends on people being aware of the risk factors.

"The major risk factors are cholesterol issues, smoking, diabetes, high sugar levels and hypertension," she said. "All these can be managed so we can manage the all risk factors that reduce the risk of stroke."

About 800,000 people have strokes each year in the United States, with about three out of four being first-time strokes.

Jerry Oster, Public News Service - SD