Reduce risk of stroke: Learn the signs and symptoms to watch for

 Do you know a man over the age of 60, who has high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes? They may be at an increased risk of having a stroke and knowing what signs to look out for can change the course of their lives if a stoke happens.

“Some symptoms of stroke include the inability to be coordinated, weakness on one side of the body, and trouble communicating or being understood,” said Dr. Christine Perry, emergency medical director at McLaren Greater Lansing. “Whenever someone has these kinds of symptoms it is important to get medical treatment as soon as possible.”

May is National Stroke Awareness Month and knowing the signs of a stroke is crucial when seconds count the most.

“The sooner you get help, the more options you have available to you and you have a better chance of having a good quality of life,” said Dr. Perry.

Strokes are the fifth-leading cause of death in the united states and cause the highest number of long-term disabilities. Once a blood vessel bursts or is blocked and oxygen stops flowing to the brain, time is ticking for effective medical treatment.

Some people show the signs of having a stroke when experiencing a transient ischemic attack (TIA). That’s when there is a temporary blockage of blood flow to the brain, often referred to as a mini-stroke.

“The symptoms of TIA are no different than a stroke, but they resolve on their own over time,” said Dr. Perry. “It is important to get treatment if these signs happen, because you can’t take chances if someone is indeed having a stoke.”

More people than ever are surviving strokes thanks to advancements in treatment and more access to specialists who can help determine treatments in just minutes. McLaren Greater Lansing’s stroke program continues to provide cutting-edge care to patients with the inclusion of tele-stroke services that connect to experts around the clock, and recently earned a second two-year Certification for Primary Stroke Centers by The Joint Commission.