Symptoms can come on all at once. Suddenly your words are slurred and your vision is blurry. Chances are good that you are having a stroke.
By Alicia Wanek
May is National Stroke Awareness Month, and since every year over 795,000 people in the U.S suffer a stroke, you can’t be reminded too often what to look for because the earlier medical treatment begins, the better the long-term prognosis.
You must BE FAST. If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these, it’s time to seek help immediately.
B – Balance difficulty
E – Eyesight changes
F – Face drooping, usually on one side
A – Arm weakness
S – Speech Difficulty
T – Time to call 911. Do not drive yourself.
Adrienne Follmer, Center Manager at Envision Imaging, reminds patients that “even if the symptoms just last a few minutes and then seem to resolve, it’s important to be evaluated.” Radiological procedures, especially a CT (Computed Tomography) and/or MRI can give the best picture of what’s really happening. Follmer shared a story about a report she received demonstrating how important these types of tests are. The report showed that a man visited the facility where a state-of-the-art MRI brain scan was performed to include Diffusion imaging and ADC mapping, the best early bleed detection. A stroke was detected and the patient was sent to the ER immediately with a disk of his pictures and a written report.
“Here at Envision we have the resources for our studies to be read 24 hours a day by highly-skilled physicians. Many people do not realize that their own doctor does not read their study. Radiologists are highly skilled physicians in their own right. At Envision we have board-certified technologists in all modalities, state-of-the-art equipment, and we are contracted with the largest radiologist group in the country to ensure we have access to specialists in every field, including Neurology, even at night and on weekends. With the teamwork you see (in the report), we get our patients the care they need in the quickest time possible which is key to the best outcome for a stroke.”
Eighty percent of strokes are preventable, especially when you choose to live a healthy lifestyle, so we can likely avoid the scenario that Follmer shared. If you’re concerned about your risk, a facility like Envision can use ultrasound to look for clots or stenosis in your carotid arteries that lead to the brain that may be putting you at risk. Ultimately, however, it’s the fast response you and your medical team show that makes the biggest difference.