HealthBeat

Identifying a stroke

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) -- Every 40 seconds someone in the U.S. has a stroke, according to the CDC. 

But with early action, many of the side effects that accompany a stroke can be improved or even eliminated.

Just 2 months ago, Raymond Schaefer suffered a stroke.

"I'm thankful for my wife here. She basically saved my life," Schaefer said.

Although his wife typically went in to work at 6:30 a.m., this particular day she wasn't scheduled until 9 a.m. Her husband's stroke started around 7:15 a.m. 

"I heard Ray fall in the bathroom and I thought what is he doing? And I walked in there and he was laying face down. I rolled him over and looked for, was trying to figure out what was going on," May Schaefer said. 

May called 911, and because of her nursing background, knew time was of the essence. In less than 3 hours, Ray had been picked up by ambulance, rushed to the hospital and undergone surgery. 

"It took a couple of days to say who he was, his birthday, be able to go back through all of those," May said. 

Thanks to May's quick thinking and ability to help her husband, just five days later, Ray was back at home. But if she wouldn't have been home, or wouldn't have called for help right away things could've gone much differently. 

Doctors say one of the most important things to keep in mind when it comes to stroke is timing.

"It is critically important that everyone knows what a stroke is because it is equally as emergent and now finally as treatable as heart attacks are," Dr. Divyajot Sandhu said.

While symptoms vary patient by patient, some symptoms to watch for are numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg on one side of the body, confusion or trouble speaking and loss of balance.

If you or someone around you begins experiencing these symptoms it's important to call for help. 

"Why people with heart attacks do better than people with strokes, one of the main reasons is that a lot more people know what a heart attack looks like, feels like, smells like. So they know what to do," Sandhu said. 

He says being able to identify the signs and symptoms you may be able to save time in getting help, which can greatly impact the overall effects of a stroke. 

To find out more signs and symptoms of a stroke, click here.


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