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Healthy Living: Stroke Awareness, knowing the signs, symptoms and risks

Published: Dec. 1, 2020 at 8:42 AM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - In this week’s Healthy Living, we talked about understanding the signs and symptoms of a stroke.

A lot of misconception is that it has to do with the heart, and in part, it does because heart disease can lead to a stroke. But it has to do with damage in the brain. Dr. Robert Lada, a Neurologist at PEAK Neurology and Sleep Medicine, LLC shares why timing and recognizing the signs and symptoms of a stroke are critical.

“When patients have a stroke as every minute goes by there’s 2 million nerve cells that die and that’s how quickly it goes and it just keeps going and going. That’s why recognizing the signs and symptoms of one are critical. A stroke is I’m doing fine and suddenly something happens so the most important part about recognizing a stroke is the signs and symptoms come on suddenly boom they’re there,” Lada said.

He used the term “FAST” as a simple way for patients to know what to look for.

  • Face, look in the mirror. Do you notice any changes or droopiness?
  • Arm, do the zombie pose, hold both arms out. Do you notice any arm weakness?
  • Speech, how you’re speaking? It slurred, are you saying things that make sense or not understand things?
  • Time, the moment a stroke is identified, don’t wait, call 911 immediately.

“It’s the mom who runs the show and the mom’s saying no don’t take me to the hospital and a lot of people just say well we’ll just wait. That’s the worst thing you can do or the one who’s having the stroke,” stressed Lada.

It’s not just about knowing the signs and symptoms, it’s also about understanding your own risks.

“High blood pressure, diabetes, tobacco use, alcohol use. We’re now knowing that with marijuana now being legalized, we’re now able to see what are the real effects of that and that also increases the risk of stroke,” Lada said.

Treatment is available, but the sooner you catch it, the better your chances for recovery.

“Take charge, be bold, call 911, get them to the hospital so we can do our job and help patients,” he said.

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