The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

May 24, 2013

Neurologist: Stroke victims need prompt attention

By Phyllis Zorn, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Speed is of the essence when someone has had a stroke.

How quickly they get medical attention makes a difference in the outcome, Enid neurologist Dr. Pedro Cardich told members of the Senior Life Network.

Cardich spoke Thursday to local seniors at a lunch-and-learn event about stroke prevention and stroke recognition.

He said if someone thinks their loved one has had a stroke, they need prompt medical attention.

“It’s important to get the patient to the hospital as soon as possible,” Cardich said.

Physicians will quickly treat the patient and assess whether treatment seems to be helping.

“If the patient doesn’t respond to mediation, we still have a window of a few hours,” Cardich said.

A stroke happens when a blood vessel is either blocked by a clot or bursts. Cardich said strokes are the third-leading cause of death in the nation and a leading cause of serious, long-term disability. Stroke risk goes up for people over 65.

Because of increasing prevalence of diabetes and aging population, incidence of stroke is expected to increase, Cardich said. The southeastern United States has a high stroke mortality rate, Cardich added.

Stroke symptoms include weakness or paralysis on one side of the body; loss of balance or coordination; difficulty with understanding or speech; being unaware of the affected side of the body; pain, numbness or odd sensations on one side of the body; problems with thinking, attention or learning; lack of awareness of the effects of the stroke; difficulty swallowing; incontinence; exhaustion; emotional outbursts; and depression.

Cardich said when you think someone might have had a stroke, it is best to approach them on the side opposite the one that is weak or paralyzed. It likely will be easier for them to see and hear you on that side.