Risk factors and warning signs of a stroke

Stroke Awareness Month (KHGI)

Stokes are the fourth leading cause of death in the state of Nebraska. According to the National Stroke Association, someone dies from a stroke every four minutes and many more are disabled.

"Stroke is the number one cause of disability in the nation," said neurology nurse practitioner at CHI Good Samaritan, Pamela Palmer.

Experts say knowing the signs and getting treatment quickly could help prevent this paralysis or even death.

"Some of the warning signs are going to be facial droopage, left sided weakness, slurred speech, any of those would be key signs to a stroke," said paramedic Luke Jatczak.

As a paramedic, Jatczak says each case is unique.

"Some patients will have maybe just one of the signs and some will show all three instead of maybe just one or two of them," said Jatczak.

he says if someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, call 911 and look at the clock.

"Because we want to know when the last time you saw them normal was," said Jatczak. "Then we can let the receiving team know how long they've been abnormal so then they can kind of differentiate their procedures that they're going to do when they arrive to the emergency room."

That is because some medicines are time sensitive.

"One of the things that has caused stroke disability to fall is use of Alteplase or a clot–busting drug," said Palmer. "That clot busting drug has to be given within three to four and a half hours after the onset of symptoms."

New technology like a medical grade video computer makes that more possible.

Pamela– "Telestroke will have a neurologist at the bedside within three minutes of you being in the hospital," said Palmer. "The camera can actually beam in on the patient's eyes and see the size of the pupils and to see if they are reacting. We also do have a stethoscope that the physician can listen to the heart tones remotely."

There are many more stroke symptoms like confusion, loss of balance. The National Stroke Association's complete list of symptoms and resources available here.

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