SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A stroke can strike at any time, happening without warning.
And according to the CDC, strokes kill about 140,000 Americans each year.
About a month ago, when Angie Mulder arrived to work, she started experiencing a bad headache.
“I called my husband but I couldn’t talk and that started at about 10 o’clock that I noticed about the only thing I could say was yes, and I’m sick,” Mulder said.
A coworker suggested Mulder go to the emergency room as her symptoms worsened and she began vomiting. While hesitant at first, she’s thankful she went.
“I knew something was wrong by the look on my husband’s face,” Mulder said.
The 53-year-old says she was in good health, exercising often and eating healthy. Finding out she had a stroke was a complete shock.
“I don’t remember a lot. I remember that I couldn’t say my name, I couldn’t communicate. I thought that I could write things down, but I couldn’t,” Mulder said.
Dr. William Rossing says not being able to communicate is one of many signs you could be having a stroke. He says clinical symptoms of stroke are summarized with the ‘Be Fast’ acronym.
“B is for balance. E is associated with eye or vision loss. F is for facial weakness. A is for arm weakness or numbness, S is for speech or language dysfunction and T obviously for time. Get into the hospital quickly,” Rossing said.
When it comes to strokes doctors say the most important thing is time.
And it’s timing that Rossing says made a huge difference in the outcome and recovery of Mulder’s stroke.
“We talk about the golden hour for stroke. We want to be dealing with patients acutely to intervene within the first hour after their symptoms if possible but certainly within the first hour of arrival to the emergency room,” Rossing said.
Mulder was back home only a few days later with minimal physical effects. Now, she’s battling the mental side of it.
“What I usually do when I’m depressed is I bike ride, but I’m kind of scared of my bike right now. I’m just scared of everything and I’m trying not to be,” Mulder said.
She’s attending her first bike ride since her stroke next week. While some fear remains, she’s remembering a proverb she’s cited her whole life.
“She is clothed in strength and dignity, and lives without fear of the future,” Mulder said.
Rossing says while you can’t predict a stroke, there are ways to lower your risk.
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