Dr. Sean Evans describes three tips for a woman who has suffered a stroke.
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Three tips for women who have already suffered a stroke or warning of a stroke which is called a TIA. One is most importantly to know what your risk factors are. The concept for doctors is what are called modifiable risk factors. Things like smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and the condition of your arteries in your neck and in your heart. Those make differences in how the doctor should respond for trying to optimize your medications and in some cases surgical procedures to lower your future risk of stroke. Therefore, a woman who really want to take ownership of her own health should know what those risk factors are and should engage her doctor in that specific question. The second factor that’s important to know is what medications you’re taking to control your risk factors and to reduce the risk of stroke. That includes medicines for things like hypertension, for diabetes, for cholesterol, for certain heart conditions and also concludes things like anti-platelet drugs such as aspirin or drugs called Clopidogrel or Agronox. Those drugs lower people’s risk of stroke. They have certain side effects, they have ways that they work better and a patient who knows which medicine they’re on and why their doctors chosen that medicine over the alternatives is a lot better in form to make good decisions about her own care. And then the final thing is that the highest single risk factor for having a second stroke is having already had the first stroke and so it is really critical that women know the risk factor or the signs and symptoms that would suggest a second stroke happening. The reason for that is the critical nature of quickly responding. There are now medications that we can be given in qualified emergency rooms that can reduce disability associated with stroke and in some cases, actually completely reverse a stroke in progress. And so quickly getting to an emergency room is the key. The things to look for is warnings of a stroke would be a sudden change in sensation or motor control on half of your body. A sudden change in your vision such as grayness or blackness in part of your sight and a sudden change in your ability to speak or understand others that are speaking. And the way to get to an emergency room that is ready for you the fastest is always to dial 911. The biggest single mistake that I unfortunately see patients make is calling your doctors office or calling a loved one first. The first call should be the 911, that way you start the clock on the system and get to some place they can help you as fast as possible.