COLORADO SPRINGS — In this Your Healthy Family, today October 29th is World Stroke Day.
We’re learning more about how COVID-19 impacts the brain, and evidence suggests the infection may increase risk for suffering a stroke.
Cleveland Clinic’s Shazam Hussain, MD, wasn’t involved in the research, but says strokes caused by blood clots appear to be impacting a younger population.
“It’s not a classic situation of stroke,” he said. “We’re actually seeing young people who don’t have the traditional risk factors for stroke like high blood pressure, or other problems. These are young, healthy people, who are coming in with big, big strokes.”
Earlier this month, we introduced you to 43-year old Jackie Anderson and his amazing stroke story of getting medical attention almost immediatly and recovering from a very large stroke with no deficits.
Regardless of age or COVID-19, Dr. Hussain said stroke symptoms should never be ignored.
He reminds people to use the acronym ‘BE FAST’ to recognize stroke symptoms.
B - stands for trouble with balance.
E - is eyes and vision problems.
F - is for droopiness in the face.
A - is for arm or leg weakness.
S - stands for trouble with speech.
T - is time – to remind us that time is of the essence and to call 911 quickly.
During a stroke, Dr. Hussain said two million neurons are lost every minute– so time to treatment matters.
“We do have very effective therapies for stroke, but they are time limited,” said Dr. Hussain. “There’s a clot buster medication called TPA, which we can give within four and a half hours. There are procedures that we can do to remove clots out of blood vessels, but we really want to be doing that within the first 6 -24 hours after a stroke starts. The longer that it takes to get treatment, potentially the worse someone can do.”
Dr. Daniel Huddle, DO, the Interventional Neuroradiologist with UCHealth Memorial Central in Colorado Springs, a Comprehensive Stroke Center who treated Jack Anderson says, “Time is brain and everybody needs to bring their game up in that regard. If the community doesn’t know to call 9-1-1, we often times can’t help.”
Dr. Brandon Glover, DO, is a neurologist at UCHealth Memorial Central Hospital who also treated Jack and adds, “Some of the other things that people will often miss are brain stem strokes, and with those you don’t necessarily lose your vision, but you can get double vision, you can still have slurred speech or problems speaking, but generally the symptoms to be in both sides of the body are you have balance issues, and sometimes you can even have like mood alterations, where uncontrollable laughing or things like that. Those are a lot more difficult to kind of assess but I would suggest that anybody who notices things on both sides of the body accompanied by dizziness and some speech issues should call 9-1-1.”
Dr. Hussain said right now some people are afraid to come to the emergency room because of COVID-19. However, he said that hospitals are taking extra precautions to keep all patients safe.
If someone has stroke symptoms – do not delay care, seek medical attention immediately by calling 9-1-1, even if you live across the street from a hospital.
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