How COVID-19 has affected stroke prevention, during National Stroke Awareness Month

Local News

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – According to the CDC, someone has a stroke every 40 seconds.

First News at Nine’s Jessica Mendoza shares a message from experts that could help save a life during this Stroke Awareness Month.

“At any time, anywhere can have a stroke. One in five women will have a stroke in their lifetime, your father might have a stroke. One of your friends could have a stroke. Age does not discriminate,” says Mayo Clinic Neurologist, Dr. Kara Sands.

Sands says every month should be stroke awareness month. The topic is close to her heart as a professional and as a daughter. Her father suffered a stroke years ago.

“It was just a normal day … yes I had a stroke and I have recovered quite a bit since then making a lot of progress,” said Bill Sands.

Being aware of the signs and symptoms, taking them seriously, and calling 911 quickly saved his life and that’s what Mayo’s team of neurologists and neurosurgeons stress to their patients.

“We are here, we are waiting, we have great treatment options but we cant use them if patients wait,” said Dr. Chris Fox.

He says that crucial step in treating a stroke has been a challenge during the pandemic.

“We saw our stroke numbers actually go down during the first couple months of the pandemic. We know strokes were still happening, people were still suffering from the same medical problems … unfortunately there was so much unknown and fear so people who were having strokes were afraid to come to the hospital,” said Fox.

Dr. Robert Brown says there has actually been a slight increase of strokes, specifically in younger patients who previously had COVID-19.

“People who have COVID-19, particularly those that are seriously or critically ill, have a higher propensity to form clots in the arteries or veins and that will lead to a stroke,” Brown says.

So, while some may have been avoiding the hospital at all costs during the past year, quickly recognizing the signs in yourself, or a loved one could make all the difference.

In Eau Claire Jessica Mendoza First News at Nine.

“FAST” is an acronym Sands says helped save his life.

Face drooping, arm weakness, or slurred speech means it’s time to call 9-1-1.

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