Archive for May, 2018

Your Stroke Questions Answered by Dr. Fadi Nahab

During May, Emory Healthcare likes to promote awareness and education about National Stroke Month. Below are the most common stroke questions answered by Fadi Nahab, MD.

Your Stroke Questions Answered

Q: How does someone know when they are having a stroke?
A: Strokes come on suddenly, and there are specific symptoms that show you are having a stroke. Know the acronym FAST:

  • Facial asymmetry – droop. If you are smiling, and one side is not rising.
  • Arms – If you put both arms in front of you, and one arm does not come up or one side is drifting down
  • Slurred speech – trouble getting your words out
  • Time- time to call 911

These three symptoms are present in 75% of strokes. Other symptoms include the worst headache of your life, trouble seeing (in one or both eyes), and confusion.

Q: If you have one of the symptoms, can that vary the type of stroke you will have or how severe it will be?
A: The number of symptoms that occurs depends on what part of the brain is involved. If a stroke occurs to a larger portion of the brain, you will have more symptoms.

Q: My sister passed away last year as a result of shower strokes. Will you explain what a shower stroke is?
A: It’s difficult to know exactly what is meant by a “shower stroke” however occasionally ischemic strokes can occur due to multiple blood clots going up to different parts of the brain causing simultaneous strokes. The multiple blood clots are sometimes referred to as a “shower” of clots to the brain.

Q: Does stroke ultimately lead to death?
A:  It can. Currently, the national numbers are 1 in every 4 stoke cases lead to death. However, it is more common for stokes to lead to disability.

Q: Will men and women experience stroke symptoms differently?
A: Most symptoms are actually similar between men and women. Some studies show that women are more likely to present with headaches, lightheadedness, or fatigue associated with additional stroke symptoms. However, symptoms between men and women are more similar than they are different.

Q: If someone is having a stroke at home, would a family member call 911 or drive the person to the hospital themselves?
A: Call 911. The stroke itself can actually worsen that can lead to difficulties breathing. Ambulance services also have the capability of pre-notifying the stroke center before their arrival. At Emory Healthcare hospitals this prenotification by EMS mobilizes our stroke team to be ready when the patient arrives, reducing the time to evaluation and treatment.

Q: Are some people more at risk of having a stroke than others?
A: Yes. The number of risk factors a person has contributes to their overall risk of stroke. The good news is that many of the risk factors for having a stroke are preventable and it is estimated that 80% of strokes are preventable. Following healthy dietary and exercise habits along with close monitoring of risk factors with your physician effectively reduces the stroke risk.

Q: Are there different types of certifications to be a stroke center?
A: Yes, the goal behind these different designations are to guide emergency medical services (EMS) to centers that specialize, manage, and treat stroke victims most effectively. The highest level is a comprehensive stroke center which provides all services required to manage a stroke patient from the most simple to the most complex stroke cases. This effectively covers emergency treatment available 24/7, rehabilitation, follow up, and prevention. Primary stroke centers provide some acute emergency needs but not all of the capabilities. Acute Stroke Ready Hospital are hospitals that have linked up with larger hospital systems that allow them to provide emergency care and then immediately transfer the stroke patient to the primary or comprehensive hospital.

Q: If someone has already had a stroke, do they need to be regularly checked by a doctor?
A: Typically after a stroke, we want to see patients within the first month after discharge. It is important to review lifestyle habits, if they are tolerating medications, etc. After risk factors are well controlled and the patient is on the right path in their rehabilitation, we usually recommend that patients follow-up on an annual basis at the minimum to maintain long-term goals of stroke prevention.

About Fadi Nahab, MD

Fadi Nahab, MD is the Medical Director for the Stroke Program. He is a Board certified vascular neurologist and his practice is based at Emory University Hospital, The Emory Clinic and Emory University Hospital Midtown where he sees new patient referrals. His research interests include evaluation and treatment of cryptogenic stroke (strokes of unknown cause), the role of dietary behaviors on stroke prevention, acute stroke treatment, the safety and role of intracranial stenting in the treatment of intracranial atherosclerotic disease, and the evaluation and management of transient ischemic attacks (TIAs).

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