HEART/STROKE: Ignorance Isn't Bliss
If you see a sign of stoke, act on it. Here's why.
For someone suffering through a stroke, fast treatment may avert major disability as well as save a life. Yet, according to a recent study, most people who admit they had a warning sign did not follow through.
The American Stroke Association says these sudden signs indicate the possibility of stroke:
Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg,
especially on one side of the body
Sudden confusion, including trouble speaking or understanding
Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance
Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
"People don't need to be afraid to go get these symptoms looked at," says study author Virginia J. Howard, MSPH, an epidemiologist with the University of Alabama-Birmingham. "They may be nothing, but prevention is so much better than treating the stroke. This is not like the boy who cried, ‘Wolf.'"
According to ASA statistics, 700,000 Americans suffer a stroke each year, with 150,000 deaths. Among survivors, 15 to 30 percent suffer permanent disability.
Howard's team surveyed more than 20,000 people. Of those who reported symptoms, 51.4 percent had not sought medical attention. Health insurance did not appear to play a role in that decision.