Avera Medical Minute: Being aware of stroke symptoms

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Published: May. 13, 2022 at 8:42 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - May is Stroke Awareness Month.

We all likely know someone who has had a stroke, but the topic itself isn’t talked about much.

We wanted to change that.

So we talked with Doctor William Rossing with Avera -- about the symptoms of a stroke... and who is more likely to have a stroke.

Dr. William Rossing: Limb numbness, tingling, weakness, clumsiness, a speech arrest or speech impairment, that is very brief in onset and perhaps they don’t pay attention to it or they don’t respond to it acutely. It resolves spontaneously. so they lay it off on something else and so those particular types of symptoms can be precursors to a stroke occurring and we would call those a transient ischemic attack.

Brian Allen: Do you think folks tend to overlook the dangers and realities of a stroke? We talk about Cancer and rightly so. We talk about Heart Disease and rightly so. Do we talk about stroke enough?

Dr. William Rossing: often times people aren’t really aware of what stroke is. Often times they may think that stroke is something to do with the heart necessarily but they aren’t really aware that it is a primarily brain focused event and so some of the symptoms that can be related to T-I-A or warning signs of a stroke sometimes can be relatively subtle and they come and go quickly and it may lead them not take them as seriously as they should. Or very commonly what they will do is they may have symptoms at night and they’ll think well I’m just going to go to bed and sleep on this and see whether or not it’s better in the morning and that’s one of the worst things you can do with regard to acute stroke occurrences.

Brian Allen: Is there a specific age group, doctor, that stroke more heavily affects or is stroke kind of an equal opportunity offender here?

Dr. William Rossing: It does affect a wide range of age groups. But historically and traditionally it’s always been a disease of people who are older in years. But and as we do age our stroke risk doubles every 10 years after the age of 55. So the older you live the more likely it is that you are going to have a stroke. However, it is increasingly common to see stroke occurring in younger individuals in their 40s and 30s and even at times in their 20s. For a variety of reasons. So it’s something that we really have to look at a continuum of ages on and not think it’s only related to elders....elderly people in their...you know....60s 70s 80s and beyond.

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