Understanding the Symptoms of Stroke

By: Jessa Goddard
By: Jessa Goddard

Knoxville (WVLT) - Stroke is the third largest cause of death, the top cause of disability and the single biggest reason people are admitted to nursing homes.

CDC just released its first state-by-state list of stroke prevalence rates, and Tennessee and Kentucky tied at a discouraging number five in stroke prevalence.

Tonight, a look at the reasons why, and what we can do to improve.

Three-point-one percent of Tennesseans and Kentuckians report being diagnosed as ever having had a stroke.

They can occur at any age, though the risk doubles for every decade of life after 55.

"I think the thing that we need to pay close attention to is close monitoring at a youthful age in terms of high blood pressure, weight plays an enormous role, management of diabetes,” East Tennessee Heart Consultants Interventional Cardiologist Randall Towne says a stroke occurs when a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain bursts or is blocked by a blood clot.

It develops when an artery in the brain leaks or bursts and causes bleeding inside the brain tissue or near the surface of the brain.

The symptoms of a stroke begin suddenly and may include: numbness, weakness or paralysis of the face, arm or leg—especially on one side of the body—vision problems in one or both eyes, confusion, trouble speaking or understanding, trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination, severe headache.

"Some of which can unfortunately a number of patients dismiss symptoms, in particular, memory loss. If a senior patient or nursing home resident becomes a little confused or disoriented that may be an early onset of a neurologic event,” explains Dr. Towne.

Time is critical in diagnosing and treating a stroke.

If given in the first few hours, treatment can help decrease the long-term effects of stroke in many people.

About 700,000 strokes occur in the United Staes each year... More than 160-thousand people die.

You can make lifestyle changes that can help lower your risk of stroke, including quitting smoking, daily cigarette smoking can increase your risk of stroke two and half times, becoming more active and eating a nutritious diet.


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