Stroke Symptoms - - Jackson, MS

Medical Matters 10 PM 5/1/07

Stroke Symptoms

Stephanie Bell Flynt

The brain attack. It's what happens in the sudden onset of stroke. Most stroke victims will find their lives in the hands of an emergency room physician, like Dr. Eric Zoog, the E-R Medical Director at Baptist Medical Center. "I would say the vast majority would come to the emergency room first because it's a rapid onset and usually a major disfunction they notice, so they're going to come to the emergency room," Dr. Zoog said. But if you're the patient, you also have to do your part and get to the emergency room fast.

So why do you want to get to the emergency room fast? Because of clot-busting drugs, which might have the ability to stop and even reverse damage. "There's always going to be part of the brain that's irreversibly damaged. But that's surrounded by some parts of the brain that are only injured. And sometimes we can rescue that part of the brain," Dr. Zoog said. 

The only problem, the so-called clot busting wonder drug, T-P-A isn't so wonderful. Dr. Zoog says it's only suited for about a third of stroke patients, but you still need to act fast. "That's not the only thing we can do. There are other blood thinning medications we can put patients on to minimize and prevent further damage," he said. 

Doctors can run something called a CT Scan to see what type of stroke you have. Blood clots are the most common, but in some instances, Dr. Zoog says it can be a bleed. And that begs the questions, before help arrives, should you take an aspirin? "I would recommend taking an aspirin. Now there is a small sub-set of strokes that happen because of bleeding, from a ruptured blood vessel. But one aspirin in that instance is not going to hurt you whereas if you have the more common kind of stroke from a blood clot, that aspirin is going to help. So the odds are in favor of taking an aspirin," Dr. Zoog said. And Dr. Zoog says take a regular aspirin, 325 milligrams, and not a baby aspirin.

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