Judy Buck was enjoying a normal Saturday morning, working on her grocery list, when her life took a dramatic turn.
“My eye started watering, and then my whole left side got heavy,” Judy said. “I knew something was wrong.”
Judy’s husband raced her to the local hospital emergency department, where Judy was diagnosed with a stroke.
Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the country and causes more serious long-term disabilities than any other disease.
Also called brain attack, a stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is disrupted. Disruption in blood flow occurs when either a blood clot blocks one of the vital blood vessels in the brain (ischemic stroke), or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, spilling blood into surrounding tissues (hemorrhagic stroke).
The brain needs a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients in order to function. Even a brief interruption in blood supply can cause problems. Brain cells begin to die after just a few minutes without blood or oxygen.
“Unfortunately with stroke, time is brain since about 1.9 million neurons are lost with every minute of lack of blood flow,” said Dion Graybeal, MD, a neurologist on the medical staff at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas.
Know Your Risks of a Stroke
Because many people do not know the risks of a stroke, Baylor Scott & White Health invites them to take a simple online quiz that can help predict the likelihood of a stroke occurring.
The eight-question online survey asks participants questions about their health relating to blood pressure, weight, tobacco use, rapid heartbeat, diabetes and physical activity level. After filling out the form, the participant receives a score, which indicates if they could be at risk for a stroke.
“It is a misconception that strokes will only happen to older people.” — Chaouki K. Khoury, MD
Although most strokes occur in people older than age 50, about 1 in 5,000 women ages 15 to 49 suffers a stroke each year, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes (NINDS).
“It is a misconception that strokes will only happen to older people,” said Chaouki Khoury, MD, medical director of neurology education on the medical staff at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas.
“Most people are aware of sudden onset weakness on one side as a possible presentation of stroke, but strokes can present in other ways, and people should get familiar with these other possible presentations,” Dr. Khoury said.
A study by Lori Mosca, MD, MPH, PhD, a Columbia University Medical Center professor, revealed that only 51 percent of women age 25 and older knew that sudden weakness or numbness in an arm or leg on one side of the body, or on one side of the face, were among the signs of stroke. Only 44 percent of the same group knew that muffled speech or other difficulty talking was a sign of stroke.
Do you know your risks of having a stroke? Take the online stroke quiz today.