Dr. Chauncey W. Crandall, author of Dr. Crandall’s Heart Health Report newsletter, is chief of the Cardiac Transplant Program at the world-renowned Palm Beach Cardiovascular Clinic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. He practices interventional, vascular, and transplant cardiology. Dr. Crandall received his post-graduate training at Yale University School of Medicine, where he also completed three years of research in the Cardiovascular Surgery Division. Dr. Crandall regularly lectures nationally and internationally on preventive cardiology, cardiology healthcare of the elderly, healing, interventional cardiology, and heart transplants. Known as the “Christian physician,” Dr. Crandall has been heralded for his values and message of hope to all his heart patients.

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Stroke Warning Signs

Tuesday, 15 Feb 2011 10:18 AM

Recognizing the warning signs of a stroke could be life saving for you or someone you love. The signs are very much like the warning signs along a road. They’re there to alert you to a danger you might not see coming. But if you take heed, you can avoid calamity.

There are five main warning signs of a stroke. You or someone you know might experience some or all of them.

1. Sudden vision problems; difficulty seeing out of one or both eyes.

2. Sudden headache; severe pain with no apparent cause.

3. Sudden confusion; you become unable to think or speak clearly, or can’t understand what others are saying to you.

4. Sudden numbness; weakness and lack of feeling in the face, arm, or leg, particularly if it is isolated on one side of the body.

5. Sudden lack of coordination, including dizziness or loss of balance.

Time is your best ally against a stroke. The biggest mistakes people make when they experience stroke warning signs are denial, indecision, and waiting too long to get help.

If you can get to the hospital right away, doctors can get the arteries opened up with medication or surgery. Often, the stroke can be stopped in its tracks so that damage is reduced or even reversed.

In addition to recognizing the warning signs, it is important to call 911 and get a paramedic on the scene as soon as possible. Do not try to drive yourself or a loved one to the hospital. You will only waste precious time.

Paramedics have a specific protocol in place for stroke patients. They are obligated to take you to a designated stroke hospital, and will call ahead with a “stroke alert.” This means the hospital will begin to assemble a qualified team in the emergency room while you are still on the way. That’s the level of urgency required for stroke care.

Once in the hospital, a stroke patient immediately will be given a neurological exam and be sent for a CT scan of the brain. That will determine if the cause is bleeding or a clot. If it’s a clot — as it usually is — additional tests will be performed to determine the location of the clot, then a blood thinner can be administered. All of this needs to happen quickly to limit damage.

© HealthDay

 
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