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Our blood circulation (which supplies our body’s nutrients and especially oxygen) truly is amazing. Each of our 30 trillion cells thereby receives vital deliveries second by second; essential needs are met almost instantly, especially in our vulnerable brain cells. Deprived of oxygen, brain cells begin to fail rapidly. OH NO!
As we age, our arteries age by developing rough spots called plaque, where the smooth Teflon-like inner vascular surface roughens. The inner surface cells are the only cells in the body that won’t cause blood to clot. Small clots can form where there is plaque. If this happens in the neck vessels, the clots can detach, get swept along, and lodge in brain arteries, depriving a specific brain area of blood flow. If the area injured is big enough, the result is a DREADED STROKE.
Strokes are major causes of death and disability. Three-quarters of a million Americans have strokes each year! Strokes are dreadfully abrupt; as such, we should be aware of how to recognize and deal with them. Sudden, completely unexpected onset of symptoms is a very important clue. Many patients with a stroke know the exact time it started. WOW. In an instant, defects happen. Physical problems such as weakness of the facial muscles or an arm or leg, dizziness, or trouble walking should alert. Also, slurred speech, blurred vision, trouble thinking or other sudden mental deficiencies are warnings. When they cry out, rapidly seek help! Time is of the essence because brain cells are dying, and therapy is needed to stop the damage. People having strokes who are treated earlier have less disability.
Dial 911 immediately when any possible stroke symptoms appear. The paramedics will give you a brief exam and determine if a stroke is the problem. They will also notify the emergency room to be ready to treat a stroke.
There are many emergency rooms widely scattered throughout America; however, for people having strokes, there are a number of innovative treatments offered which are available in only a few places providing state-of-the-art stroke therapies. All healthcare institutions, including hospitals, need to be certified by a regulatory organization called simply the “Joint Commission”. The “Joint” makes sure medical care being delivered meets strict standards.
The “Joint” has designations for superior stroke treatment centers and it titles them “Comprehensive Stroke Centers.” These centers are staffed by specialists in the expert treatment of strokes. They are set up to rapidly get a scan of the brain in less than 30 minutes, and a radiologist is always on duty. Physicians capable of administering the medicine to rapidly dissolve an obstructing clot and re-establish critical blood flow are available. The need for speed is critical because brain cells are suffering; if blood flow is restored before they die, they will recover. Be aware and don’t hesitate to go into critical stroke mode if there is any suspicion of a stroke. To be sent additional health blurbs, send your name and email address to [email protected].