Contributed by Rio Grande Regional Hospital
Every 40 seconds, someone suffers from a stroke. Stroke is the most common cause of disability in the United States and is the fifth leading cause of death. A stroke can be an ischemic or hemorrhagic. An ischemic stroke is when an artery in the brain becomes blocked, causing lack of oxygen to that particular part of the brain. The signs and symptoms depend on the part of the brain being affected. The larger the artery, the more devastating the symptoms. A hemorrhagic stroke is when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures most often due to uncontrolled high blood pressure, causing decreased oxygenation to that particular part of the brain. This causes symptoms while toxic byproducts of the deoxygenated blood cause further damage. It is impossible to recognize the difference between the two without brain imaging. It is therefore critical to seek immediate medical attention when suffering signs and symptoms of a stroke.
One of the issues physicians are facing today, is that patients are delaying to seek medical attention. In some cases, patients present days, even weeks after symptoms have occurred. About 1.9 million brain cells die each minute in an untreated stroke. An untreated brain ages roughly 3.6 years for each hour during an untreated stroke. Time is brain indeed. Regardless of the cause of delay, physicians will continue to strive to bring awareness and promote early recognition of stroke symptoms.
I can never stress enough the importance of seeking early medical attention in the setting of stroke, as trained stroke neurologists, we will always do our part to deliver the best care possible; we just need our patients to allow us to do so.
To learn more about the Stroke and Neurosciences services offered at Rio Grande Regional Hospital, please visit RioHealth.com.