May 18, 2004
Learn early warning signs of stroke at area screenings
By Lisa Uzzle Gates
Health and Research News Service
JACKSON, Miss.—In an effort to spread the word about the warning signs of stroke, Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson will sponsor free stroke screenings at two metro-area malls.
The screenings are Tuesday, May 25 from 10 a.m. to noon at the McRae’s at Dogwood Festival Market in Flowood and Wednesday, May 26 from 8:30 to 11 a.m. at Northpark Mall in Ridgeland, as part of that city’s annual Mayor’s Wellness Walk.
According to the Mississippi State Department of Health, stroke disables about 2,000 Mississippians each year. And while stroke is the nation’s third leading cause of death, advances in acute care and improvements in long-term therapy mean more stroke survivors are now reclaiming their lives, said Dr. David Collipp, a rehabilitation medicine physician at Methodist.
“If we can educate people about stroke symptoms and hammer home the critical need for emergency treatment, more lives will be saved and fewer people will suffer lifelong disabilities,” Dr. Collipp said. “According to the National Institutes of Health, people who are treated within 90 minutes of the onset of symptoms show the most improvement. That means people can’t afford to dismiss their symptoms and take a wait-and-see approach.”
Dr. Collipp recommends seeking immediate medical treatment if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Sudden weakness or numbness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headaches with no known cause
Risk factors for stroke include:
- High blood pressure
- Tobacco use
- Diabetes mellitus
- Carotid or other artery disease
- Transient ischemic attacks or “mini strokes”
- Atrial fibrillation or other heart disease
- Sickle cell anemia or a high red blood cell count
- High blood cholesterol
- Physical inactivity and obesity
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Illegal drug use
If you notice one or more of these signs in another person or yourself, call 911 or your local emergency medical services number immediately. Treatment can be more effective if given quickly.