(ATLANTIC) While the death rate from stroke has been decreasing, stroke is still the fourth leading cause of death in Iowa.
May is Stroke Awareness Month. Dr. Angela Weppler with Cass County Health Systems said it is important to recognize the onset of symptoms, which can be sudden.
“Usually it’s weakness in the arms or legs; it’s usually on one side. You can have numbness as well, also usually on one side. It can involve the face, arms or legs,” explained Dr. Weppler. “A sudden change in vision can be a stroke. Sudden changes in speech, complete loss of speech or just gargled speech can be a stroke. Unexplained and a sudden onset of a spinning dizziness or horrible loss of balance that is a sudden onset can also be a stroke.”
Dr. Weppler said taking care of your health and knowing your risk factors can prevent a stroke.
“Your big risk factors for stroke are having bad arteries,” said Dr. Weppler. “Things that cause bad arteries are having diabetes that has not been well controlled, having high blood pressure that has not been well controlled, having high cholesterol, and smoking is one of our big risk factors for so many things and stroke is definitely one of them. If you’ve got known heart disease you may want to be screened for stroke because we already know if you’ve got bad arteries in your heart you can have bad arteries anywhere else.”
Dr. Weppler said stroke is a very time dependent thing to treat. She said you need to be in the hospital as soon as possible following the onset of symptoms because the medicines need to be given within three hours and within that time frame you need to be evaluated to make sure you can even have the medicines.