Workplace Preparedness: Stroke Warning Signs

Friday Oct. 27, 2017

Workplace Preparedness: Stroke Warning Signs

Know the warning signs of stroke

 

 

The World Health Organization established October 29 as World Stroke Day in order to raise public awareness about strokes. This day can be used by employers to raise awareness about strokes and is also a useful opportunity to raise awareness about transient ischemic attacks, or “mini-strokes.” Transient ischemic attacks tend to be milder than strokes, and because the symptoms usually dissipate within a few minutes, many people delay seeking medical care for mini-strokes. However, mini-strokes are medical emergencies and, like strokes, they require immediate medical attention.

Strokes

Strokes are one of the leading causes of death in middle- and high-income countries. Strokes are due to a persistent interruption of blood flow to the brain, which can cause lasting brain damage, disability, and even death. However, long-term disability may be reduced if the patient receives medical intervention within three hours of first developing symptoms. Factors that increase the risk of having a stroke include - but are not limited to - the following: age, gender, family history of stroke, race, smoking, alcohol, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and atrial fibrillation.

Transient Ischemic Attack

Transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), also called “mini-strokes,” are due to a temporary interruption of blood flow to the brain that generally does not cause permanent damage to the brain. Symptoms of a TIA can last from a few minutes to a few hours. Even though TIAs generally do not result in permanent brain damage, they are still a medical emergency. TIAs are a warning sign that an individual is at an increased risk of having a stroke in near future. The risk of having a stroke after a TIA is highest the first few hours to days after having a TIA. In fact, TIA patients have a 10-percent chance of having a major stroke within two days after their TIA.

Recurrent Strokes

The major risk factors associated with secondary, or recurrent, strokes are a previous stroke and TIAs. According to the National Stroke Association, one out of every five individuals who has had a stroke will have a recurrent stroke within five years. Recurrent strokes usually result in higher disability and death rates than the original stroke, because the brain tissue has already been damaged. However, a study found that urgent assessment of TIAs and minor strokes with early initiation of treatment not only reduced a person’s risk of having a recurrent stroke by 80 percent but also reduced disability rates, hospital admissions, days spent in a hospital bed, and costs of acute admission to the hospital.

Early Detection

Early detection of stroke and/or TIA symptoms and prompt medical intervention are arguably the most important things a person can do to reduce the long-term effects of a stroke, as well as reduce the risk of a secondary stroke. The signs and symptoms associated with a TIA are identical to those of a stroke; however, the symptoms from a TIA only last a short time. This infographic based on information from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, can be used by individuals to help them quickly identify the symptoms associated with a stroke as well as a TIA.

 

 

 

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Melissa Dudley is a Senior Health Intelligence Analyst at iJET International. She holds a B.S. in Biology and minor in Chemistry from Frostburg State University and a Masters of Public Health from Walden University. Melissa also attended the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine and was a recipient of the US Army Health Professions Scholarship Program.

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