How much time do you have to treat a stroke? The answer may surprise you. The first minutes and hours after stroke symptoms appear are critical for receiving proper, and potentially lifesaving, treatment. Therefore, it is vital that you recognize the signs and symptoms of stroke as soon as possible.
Recognizing the Symptoms
The clock starts the moment the first symptoms occur, so the first step starts with you. Never ignore or dismiss symptoms, because waiting even a short period of time could lead to a deadly outcome. While not everyone will experience the same symptoms, below are some of the most common signs to be familiar with:
- Numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding speech
- Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or lack of coordination
- Severe headache with no known cause
Diagnosis and Treatment
According to the CDC, stroke is a leading cause of long-term disability in the U.S., with more than 795,00 cases each year. Ischemic strokes, in which blood flow to the brain is blocked, are by far the most common and account for the majority (87%) of cases. To date, tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) is the only FDA-approved treatment for ischemic strokes. When administered quickly, tPA helps to restore blood flow to the brain, thereby limiting the risk of damage and functional impairment. tPA needs to be administered within 3-4.5 hours after symptoms began to be effective; therefore, it is imperative that doctors make rapid diagnoses.
If you or a loved one is experiencing stroke symptoms, getting to a hospital as quickly as possible is the top priority. However, not all hospitals and doctors offer the same level of care. Have you or a loved one suffered a stroke? Were you diagnosed in a timely manner? Did you receive proper treatment? Contact us today for more information or to schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced lawyer.