According to the American Stroke Association, someone in the United States suffers a stroke every 40 seconds-and someone dies from a stroke every four minutes. In fact, strokes are the No. 5 cause of death in the U.S.
With nearly 800,000 Americans suffering from a stroke every year, chances are you or someone you know will enter a hospital exhibiting one of these signs of stroke:
- Severe headache with no known cause
- Confusion or trouble speaking
- Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg, usually on one side of the body
- Sudden vision problems
- Difficulty walking or dizziness
If you experience any of these symptoms, call or alert someone to call 911 immediately.
Immediate care is imperative
If you get to the hospital and receive treatment within three hours after the onset of symptoms, the risk of death or long-term side effects may be dramatically diminished with certain types of strokes, experts say.
However, the ability to treat the effects of stroke goes down when the length of time from the onset of symptoms increases.
That's why it's important not only to get to the hospital, but also for doctors and emergency technicians to know how long it has been since the onset of symptoms. Proper scans can be combined with special drugs to alleviate the cause and symptoms of stroke.
Stroke and medical malpractice
As with any emergency, split-second decisions can save or cost lives. Medical professionals have the training, tools and facilities to save as many lives as possible, but sometimes they make a mistake. Doctors and hospital personnel can sometimes fail to make a proper diagnosis, fail to treat a patient correctly or fail to get the patient's consent for treatment.
When these things happen, you have recourse. Medical malpractice lawsuits exist not only to hold professionals accountable, but also to give you restitution for costs and lost income as well as to make sure no one else suffers from the same mistakes.
While genetics and age are some of the best predictors of having a stroke, perhaps the best course of action is prevention. Doctors recommend you exercise regularly, don't smoke, keep a normal weight and healthy diet, maintain healthy cholesterol levels and keep your blood pressure in check.