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Stroke Is An Emergency!

Prompt Medical Care Can Save a Life

By

Updated March 14, 2004

While prevention of stroke is of utmost importance, when stroke hits, rapid treatment is needed to prevent the disability that stroke can cause. The first step in treating stroke is recognizing the symptoms and the second step is seeking emergency treatment immediately when those symptoms hit.

Stroke Symptoms

  • Weakness or inability to move your arm or leg on one side of your body.
  • Weakness or numbness of the face.
  • Burring or dimness of vision especially occurring in one eye.
  • Slurring of speech or difficulty in speaking.
  • Unexplained weakness or dizziness.
  • Sudden onset of severe headache.

These symptoms in yourself or a loved one mean that immediate medical attention is needed, call 911 (or whatever the emergency response number in your area is). Rapid, appropriate treatment has proven to reduce or prevent the permanent disabilities that stroke can cause.

Stroke Treatment
The most effective treatment for stroke in the last few years involves the use of a drug originally developed for use in heart patients. This "clot-buster" , TPA has proven to be very effective if administered within the first 3 hours of the onset of the stroke symptoms. Recent studies have shown that if this drug is administered during the prescribed time frame that recovery in increased dramatically. The advantages have significantly outweighed the risks. This drug does increase the risk of bleeding in the brain, and is not recommended for use in strokes cased by hemorrhage. TPA is administered by IV infusion and is generally started in the emergency room due to the short window of time given for administration.

Along with TPA, stroke treatment may involve several other drugs, which your doctor will administer according to your needs. Possible treatments include:

  • Anticoagulents
    These drugs may be used to prevent the formation of clots that can cause further problems.
  • Anti-hypertensive Drugs
    These drugs act in various ways to help lower blood pressure.
  • Cholesterol Lowering Drugs
    High cholesterol can lead to plaque in the blood vessels which can reduce the flow of blood to the brain.
  • Antiplatelet Drugs
    These drugs help to reduce the stickiness of platelets and prevent clots.

These drugs along with appropriate therapies can help the stroke victim recover and reduce the long lasting effects of the stroke.

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