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Published on May 10, 2016

Strokes: How to Prevent and Recognize Them

Stroke

Strokes: How to Prevent and Recognize Them

What do 40 seconds, 80 percent, four letters and three numbers have to do with strokes? Cone Health Stroke Response Nurse Jessica Jarvis, RN, answers that question and more. The answers could save your life. 

The following questions were submitted to Jessica Jarvis by video viewers.

Question: If I were to have a stroke but did not seek help until the next day, would I still be able to get TPA?    

TPA is the only FDA approved medication for the treatment of acute stroke. It is time sensitive and can only be administered within 3-4.5 hours of symptom onset, based on specific eligibility criteria. If you present beyond this time window, you will not be eligible for the medicine. Please know that Moses Cone is a Joint Commission Certified Stroke Center and we participate in stroke research studies, based on testing we may have additional treatments to offer. You may qualify for one of them. Please do not delay and call 9-1-1 at any sign of stroke.

Question: I had a TIA in November 2015. At that time I was told that I had a stroke sometime in the last 7 years. My father had several strokes and died at age 65. What steps can I take to prevent another stroke? The left side of my neck is stiff. Does this have anything to do with lack of blood flow? I'm taking high blood pressure medicine, cholesterol medicine and Plavix. I've also lost about 20 pounds and weigh 133 lbs. My height is 5'2".

We can tell by looking at brain imaging if someone has had a previous stroke; what we cannot tell is when they had the stroke. Any time you have a stroke or TIA, it puts you at greater risk to have a stroke than someone who has never had a stroke or TIA. We know that somewhere around 80% of strokes can be prevented. It is important to look at your risk factors and get them in control. High blood pressure is the single most important modifiable risk factor. Other common risk factors that you can address include:  diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, and cigarette smoking. I am glad you are taking your medications as prescribed and congratulations on your weight loss – you now have a normal body mass index, this will help reduce your stroke risk. A stiff neck is not typically associated with slow blood flow or stroke, however, please consult your healthcare provider if you are concerned.

Question: I had a mild stroke about 3 months ago. Why am I still so tired? I am on my feet all day at work. And still don't have good use of my right hand.Post-stroke fatigue is actually one of the most common effects of stroke. While you know stroke affects your brain, it also effects the rest of your body as well. It is normal to be tired after a stroke, even if all your symptoms go away?

Post-stroke fatigue is actually one of the most common effects of stroke. While you know stroke affects your brain, it also effects the rest of your body as well. It is normal to be tired after a stroke, even if all your symptoms go away. Sometimes it can take 3 months, 6 months, or even longer. It is not necessarily related to activity level or quality of sleep and does not always improve with rest. Please mention this to your healthcare provider in the event that there are any other abnormalities that could be associated.

Stroke deficits may continue even after adequate rehabilitation. It is important that you continue any exercises you were taught. Improvement can continue.