Time is Critical in Recovery from Stroke

hourglassStroke is a leading cause of death in the United States, killing one American every 4 minutes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A stroke is an interruption of the blow flow to the brain. Strokes and be caused by a blocked blood vessel, or one that bursts and bleeds into the brain. Strokes can occur at any point in life, but the risk of stroke increases with age. Each year, over 795,000 Americans have a stroke, resulting in long-term or permanent disability.

The speed at which a stroke victim receives treatment can mean the difference between recovery and long term, or even fatal, consequences.  This was highlighted in a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association by Dr. Jeffrey Saver, director of UCLA’s Comprehensive Stroke Center and his colleagues. In their study, Dr. Saver et al., found that the risk of suffering from stroke symptoms or death decreases by 4% for each 15 minutes doctors gain when intervening with a stroke victim. John Adler, MD, a Dorothy & TK Chan Professor of Neurosurgery and Radiation Oncology at Stanford University, and CEO of Cureus, Inc., stated “This paper by Saver et al. adds to a large body of now incontrovertible data.  In the setting of ischemic stroke, the speedy restoration of brain perfusion with tPA leads to better functional outcomes.  The big unmet public health challenge is ensure the fastest possible recognition of ischemic stroke to be followed by ever more timely therapeutic intervention.”

Common signs of stroke can include sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, confusion, trouble seeing, loss of balance or coordination, or a sudden, severe headache. At risk are those with diabetes, poor diet, obesity, physical inactivity, and those who consume excessive amounts of alcohol. Concerned about your own risk of stroke? Use this stroke calculator developed at the UCLA Stroke Center:

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