May 25, 2012

Maury Regional offers information on the warning signs of stroke

COLUMBIA, Tenn. – Maury Regional Medical Center (MRMC) wants people to be aware of the warning signs of stroke. According to the American Stroke Association (ASA), stroke is now the fourth leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the United States. The ASA has estimated that a stroke occurs on an average of every 40 seconds and claims more than 130,000 lives each year.

A stroke can be caused either by a blood clot obstructing the flow of blood to the brain or by a blood vessel rupturing and preventing blood flow to the brain. When that happens, part of the brain begins to die from the lack of blood and oxygen. The effects will vary according to where the problem occurs and how much area of the brain has been affected.

Indications of a stroke usually develop suddenly and include: 

  • Numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Confusion or trouble speaking
  • Vision problems in one or both eyes
  • Loss of balance, trouble walking and dizziness
  • Sudden onset of a severe headache, unlike any previous headache

“If you see someone showing signs of a stroke, it’s important that you call 911 immediately,” said MRMC Emergency Department Medical Director Dr. Mark McLean. “In some cases, the long-term effects of a stroke can be minimized by the timely administering of a clot-busting medication. But for the medication to have the best chance of working, the patient must get to the ER as soon as possible after the symptoms start.”

The chances of having a stroke increase with age and are more common among those with a family history of the disease and among African-Americans. Anyone with a prior history of stroke or heart attack is also at increased risk.

“Hypertension - high blood pressure - is the leading cause of stroke and the most important controllable risk factor. To help prevent stroke, monitor your blood pressure and maintain regular follow- up appointments with your primary care provider,” said Dr. McLean. “The best prevention is through healthy living by not smoking, eating a healthy diet, regular exercise and keeping your cholesterol levels and blood pressure within a healthy range.”

More information may be obtained at