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Most Illinoisans Ignore Signs of Stroke

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Monday, June 5, 2017   

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – About 1 in 3 American adults experience a symptom consistent with a warning or mini stroke, but very few – 3 percent – take the recommended action, according to a recent survey from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association.

Cardiovascular disease is responsible for about a third of all deaths in Illinois and 13 percent of all hospitalizations.

Dr. Jin-Moo Lee, director of Stroke Services at Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, says 35 percent of respondents report having experienced at least one sign of a warning stroke, and those who did were more likely to wait, rest or take medicine than call 911.

"The treatments for stroke have to be implemented within the first several hours, and so it's really important to recognize the signs and symptoms of a stroke so that patients can show up to the emergency room," he says.

Signs of a stroke include sudden onset of weakness or numbness on one part of the body, severe headache, only being able to see out of one eye, and difficulty speaking.

Three in four strokes strike those age 65 and older, and the risk of having a stroke more than doubles each decade after age 55.

Keeping blood pressure in check, a healthy balanced diet, and getting enough exercise are top ways to ward off strokes.

Lee says strokes are caused by a blockage of an artery in the brain that cuts off blood flow. He says many people suffer a mini stroke, which is a stroke that reverses itself, and the symptoms go away, but he says that doesn't mean everything is OK.

"These symptoms are transient,” he explains. “They come and go. Many people think that they're benign.

“However they're usually a warning sign that another stroke will occur. So capturing someone before that stroke occurs is really important so that prevention measures can be taken. "

Strokes are the second leading cause of death in the world, and number one cause of adult disability.




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