National Stroke Awareness Month: Signs, symptoms to look for

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – A stroke is a disease that affects the arteries that lead to the brain. It is a top five cause of death. Baptist Memorial Hospital Stroke Coordinator said signs of a stroke, can happen in several different ways.

“Symptoms of a stroke can vary, and the most important thing is that those symptoms are usually sudden. It can be sudden numbness or weakness of the face, of the legs or arm, on one or both sides of the body,” said Norris.

What started off as a normal day over five years ago, quickly took a wrong turn for stroke survivor Charles Lee.

“I woke up, and stood up to get out of bed, and my legs were shaking. My balance was off, so I sat back down in the bed, and I had a weird ringing in my ear,” said Lee.

Lee did not know it at the time, but he was having a stroke.

Norris said if you have any signs of stroke, you should not ignore them. She also said getting rid of some bad habits, can decrease your chances of having one.

“Increasing your activity, if you are a tobacco user, stop smoking. If you are on blood pressure medication, take your blood pressure medication, and if you are on cholesterol medication take your cholesterol medication,” said Norris.

Both Lee and Norris agree that time is of the essence. They said if you or someone you know is experiencing any type of stroke symptoms, it is best to let the hospital come to you instead of driving to them.

“We need to make sure the community understands the importance of dialing 9-1-1, let the help come to you instead of you going to the help. The emergency medical services have the equipment that they need to go ahead and start the medical plan,” said Norris

“take the ambulance to the hospital, the doctors said one of the most important things I did, was going in an ambulance. They got me on pure oxygen up until the point I got to the hospital. Also, if you are in an ambulance, they are going to call ahead and the emergency room knows what is coming,” said Lee.

Norris said 85% of strokes are caused by blood clots.

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