This is my personal blog, on which I talk about a variety of topics purely as they catch my fancy. Some topics are serious, others whimsical. I love comments and questions so don't be shy, just courteous, even if you don't agree with me. I have another blog, The Story Template, on which I post writing-related topics on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Let's see, a bit about me... I'm married with two children, and spend much time taking care of our family. In my life BC (before children) I was a scientist who did bench research. I am a Christian who came to faith under protest through studying the historic circumstances surrounding the death of Jesus. I've written one novel, A Lever Long Enough, that I'm honored to say has won two awards. I also have written a nonfiction book, The Story Template: Conquer Writer's Block Using the Universal Structure of Story. This book is a programmed learner-type book that helps you, the writer, develop a complete compelling story (novel or screenplay) from a vague idea.

YOU CAN CONTACT ME at amydeardon at yahoo dot com.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Recognizing a Stroke

A stroke is defined as rapid loss in brain function (motor, cognition, vision, and/or other) due to an interruption in blood supply (for example from a blockage/clot, or hemorrhage/bleeding). A stroke can cause permanent neurological damage or death, and is the leading cause of disability in the USA and Europe, and second leading cause of death worldwide. (Feigin VL. 2005. "Stroke epidemiology in the developing world". Lancet 365 (9478): 2160–1).

The Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) is a reversible stroke-like event that is an important warning for high stroke risk. The TIA gives the same symptoms as a stroke (for example, contralateral paralysis, difficulty speaking, vision changes etc.), but these symptoms disappear within about 24 hours. TIAs are usually caused by an occlusion in the blood supply to the brain, say a piece of atherosclerotic plaque breaking off from a blood vessel that travels to the brain and briefly blocks a vessel. ANYONE EXPERIENCING A TIA SHOULD IMMEDIATELY BE MEDICALLY EVALUATED TO LOWER THE RISK OF STROKE. Evaluation includes a doctor history and a physical exam and several tests, including an MRI of the brain, ultrasound of the neck, and an echocardiogram of the heart.

Early medical care if someone is having a stroke is critical to limit permanent damage. If someone trips, or seems to be slurring their words, do this quick check to verify good neurological function:

1. Ask the person to SMILE.

2. Ask the person to SAY A SIMPLE SENTENCE (something like, it is sunny out today).

3. Ask the person to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

4. Ask the person to STICK OUT HIS TONGUE.

You can remember these steps by remembering the first three letters of STROKE: S (smile), T (talk), R (raise both arms). You're fighting a bad problem with the stroke, so then stick your tongue out at it.


If the person has trouble with any of these tasks, CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY and describe the person's symptoms. Therapies that can break up a blood clot, if used quickly for an ischemic stroke, can prevent brain damage. Fast intervention no matter the etiology of the stroke saves the brain. WHEN IN DOUBT, GET HELP. CALL 911 SO THAT THE PERSON CAN RAPIDLY BE TRANSPORTED TO THE HOSPITAL.

No comments:

Post a Comment