Thursday, May 1, 2014

Stroke Awareness

Back on May 11, 1989, President George H. W. Bush signed a proclamation designating May as National Stroke Awareness Month at the urging of National Stroke Association, and ever since then, the Association has been using this special time of the year to increase public awareness of stroke in an effort to conquer it. As someone who experienced a transient ischemic attack (TIA) - sometimes called a mini-stroke, I can tell you how terribly important this is.
Now let me tell you that while I think this is important, I also think stroke awareness should spread throughout the year.  We should know the signs.  We should know how to respond.  We need to know that our response needs to be quick.  Some effects of a stroke cannot be reversed, and that is why it is so very important that they be prevented.  It is my policy to never give out anything that might resemble medical advice here.  Be aware that there are many sources of information, and I simply want to point you in that direction.
TIAs, like I had, cause the same symptoms that are associated with a stroke, and may cause slurred speech, sudden dimming or loss of vision, and mental confusion. A TIA usually resolves within a few minutes or hours. I was feeling somewhat normal again after about three hours and completely fine by the next day.  Brain injury can still occur in a TIA lasting only a few minutes though and a TIA can be a warning for a full stroke in the future.  I was lucky.  There was no lasting damage.  It made me aware though and I asked questions and continue to follow what my doctor says to do.
So, what should you do?  Awareness means information so start by reading and learning signs of a stroke.  Ask questions.  Talk to your own doctor.  Urge your family and friends to be stroke aware as well.

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