"A" was a 30-something mother of two when she suffered a massive stroke. Working at a local school one day, she became unable to speak or move one side of her body. A quick-thinking co-worker called 9-1-1, recognizing that "A" was suffering a stroke. EMS providers got her to the hospital quickly, where we gave a clot-busting medication. These medications work only if a stroke patient gets to the hospital within 4 1/2 hours of the onset of symptoms. "A" was healthy, and would never have expected to have a stroke. The clot-buster work, and she regained her speech and movement. Groundhog day was the 6th anniversary of her stroke. I am happy to say that now I see her on Facebook, rather than as a patient in our hospital.
Shari was a mother of three, who ran regularly with her good friend. On one of their early morning runs, she began to feel poorly. As they got close to home, she collapsed. Her friend Cathy began CPR and was assisted by their husbands. EMS providers arrived quickly, continued CPR, and were able to restore a normal heart rhythm. Shari did not wake up, and there was concern for brain injury due to lack of oxygen. We initiated a hypothermic state, chilling Shari to protect her brain. She made a full recovery.
So I ask you to take a minute on "Go Red for Women Day" to learn the warning signs of heart attack and stroke. You can save a life. Learn CPR. Know the warning signs. It may be the most important thing you do one day.
Warning Signs of a Stroke (Think "Fast")
Face- Smile (do both sides look the same?)
Arms- Raise both arms over the head (are they symmetrical?)
Speech- Say a Sentence (slurred? does it make sense?)
Time- Call 9-1-1 quickly!!!!
Warning Signs of a Heart Attack
- Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
- Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort
- Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness
- As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.
- If you have any of these signs, don’t wait more than five minutes before calling for help. Call 9-1-1...Get to a hospital right away.
The following two videos are funny, but convey a serious message. Both are made by the American Heart Association to raise awareness.
"It's Just a Little Heart Attack"
"Push Hard and Fast"