Central New York health officials are updating the warning signs to look for in someone who might be having a stroke. Balance & eyesight trouble are now being noted as keys symptom to be aware of in stroke patients. This goes along with the other known symptoms like facial droop, and slurred speech.
The updated stroke awareness campaign, rolled out as part of World Stroke Day 2019, is also emphasizing action-time, because as Stroke Manager at Upstate Hospital Joshua Onyan explains—every minute counts for a stroke patient.
"The quicker you get to the hospital and get treatment, generally, the better outcome. We know that about two million brain cells die every minute, if you wait an hour that's quite a bit of brain cells dying," he said.
That can mark a problem for stroke patients who ignore the symptoms. A lot of stroke patients opt for a nap after being hit with a wave of dizziness or headache, which Onyan explains, can limit oxygen to the brain.
Although strokes are a leading cause of death, Stroke Center Data Coordinator Michelle Vallelunga notes that 8 in 10 can be prevented with healthy lifestyle adjustments. Regulating cholesterol, diet, and sleeping patterns all significantly lower one’s risk for a stroke.
"The most important risk factor for someone to consider is high blood pressure, and controlling that blood pressure. It really gives you the most 'bang for your buck', if you will, in terms of keeping that pressure under control for the brain," Vallelunga said.
New treatments have also been developed thanks to recent advancements in technology. Health professionals can use CAT scans to analyze the brain and assess damage, similar to a heart attack. Artifical intelligence can also be used to determine the severity of treatment necessary for patients.
World Stroke Day, Oct. 29 this year, was launched by the World Stroke Campaign to spread awareness for warning signs of strokes. By educating people about how to identify strokes, victims can recieve medical attention faster and be more likely to make a full recovery.
Upstate, Crouse and St. Joseph's hospitals are three of Central New York’s Primary Stroke Centers. The state and other accrediting agencies designate hospitals to ensure that they have staff and resources necessary to treat stroke patients 24/7.