November 25, 2008
Most having a stroke don’t know it
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., say most stroke patients don't think they're having a stroke -- and as a result, delay treatment.
Lead author Dr. Latha Stead studied 400 patients who were diagnosed at Mayo Clinic's emergency department with either acute ischemic stroke or a transient ischemic attack, a temporary interruption of blood flow to part of the brain.
Forty-two percent say they thought they were having a stroke, but most did not go to the emergency room when symptoms appeared.
The median time from onset of symptoms to arrival at the hospital was over 3 1/2 hours. Most said they thought the symptoms would simply go away. The delay in seeking medical help was the same among men and women.
Stroke symptoms include:
-- Sudden numbness, weakness, or paralysis of your face, arm or leg.
-- Sudden difficulty speaking.
-- Sudden blurred, double or decreased vision.
-- Sudden dizziness, loss of balance.
-- A sudden, severe
bolt out of the blue headache or an unusual headache.
-- Confusion or problems with memory, spatial orientation or perception.