Sharing Mayo Clinic

Stories from patients, family, friends and Mayo Clinic staff

May 18, 2009

Stroke Awareness: Do you know the signs?

By CSMMayo

Despite the fact that I have been a Mayo Clinic employee for almost 19 years, and have worked for over five of those years with our comprehensive Stroke Center, I was shocked to find out that I didn't know all the signs and symptoms of stroke!

It’s not just slurred speech or drooping of the face. Did you know that sudden vision loss or blurriness can be a sign of an impending stroke? So, too, can difficulties swallowing.

A recent study by some of my colleagues in Rochester showed that almost 60 percent of patients who came to the emergency room with symptoms didn't believe they were having a stroke. And most didn't go to the emergency room when their symptoms first appeared. The patients said they thought the symptoms would simply go away.

Stroke can be treated. But you have to be diagnosed first. The key is to recognize the signs and get to an emergency room.  I encourage everyone to read more about stroke and be aware. It could happen to you.

This post was written by Suzanne Shaw, nurse administrator at Mayo Clinic’s comprehensive Stroke Center in Florida.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Tags: Florida, Jacksonville, Neurology & Neurosurgery, stroke, stroke center, stroke symptoms, stroke team

I am 73 years old and healthy….. and also thought I was aware of stroke symptoms; that is until last March when I experienced what I now know as a Lacunar stroke.

One morning I noted that my left arm felt strange … Not tingling/pins n needles/not really numb. Just barely noticeable … somewhat like your face feels when you have had novocaine for dental work and the affects are almost gone. I could draw a line round my arm from just above my elbow to fingertips. Having had the odd arthritis issue and gone to Physio my first thought was to make an apt with them but, as the day progressed, I forgot about the sensation entirely. Next morning I became aware of the very same sensation in my left leg from just above the knee down! Having by now forgotten my arm I had the same thought process (make a physio appt) until half way through the day I realized that I still had the same odd sensation in my arm. By late afternoon nothing had changed so I visited the local OPD. The young physician on duty diagnosed a stroke which floored me because all of the usual physical tests for a stroke were normal. He sent me by ambulance to another hospital for a CT scan. An hour after the scan I was told I was fine, no stroke and I could go home!

Next morning I awoke and now the sensation began at my shoulder ,, to finger tips and from my waist to toes. NOW I was concerned for the first time soooo … I went to the Mayo Clinic site where I proceeded to do some searching for a cause myself. There I found information on Lacunar stroke which exactly matched my symptoms! The information also indicated that this type of stroke would not be seen on a CT scan but required an MRI.

I printed off the information and made a doc’s appt, his secretary sent me back to OPD where Inwas seen by the same physician who had diagnosed a stroke the previous day. I handed him the info I had printed re the Lacunar stroke not being visible on CT scan and hVe”waved it aside” telling me they would make arrangements for me to see a neurologist the following week!

Since they were “unconcerned” I decided perhaps I should relax so our family headed to the City on the weekend to visit friends. Sunday morning I awoke and was horrified to discover that now the back of my head (left side also) was experiencing the odd sensation. Now very worried I checked into the nearest Emerg … finally people were concerned! They offered to keep me there for MRI but I had two dogs and family and needed to be home. The released me only after contacting the hospital in my home region and making arrangements for an MRI the following day which, as it turns out, confirmed that I had experienced a Lacunar stroke. The affects subsided within the next few days and a week or so later my family physician prescribed a medication to reduce my blood pressure.

Sorry this is so long! I still do not know what actually caused this stroke. My blood pressure prior to this event was fairly well under control and caused by anxiety …… at times soaring to 200+ over 100+ but lowered after taking Ativan. The odd thing is that I always have a slow pulse (I thought anxiety raised the pulse/heart rate) and when I checked my BP at home the diastolic would be within normal limits but the systolic at times well above! Any thoughts on this? Would the fact that my anxiety arises from childhood issues and I have a dissassociative disorder have anything to do with this weird BP thing?

Thanks for the opportunity to share my experience and ask questions which are still,puzzling me.

Please sign in or register to post a reply.
Contact Us · Privacy Policy