Local Health Alert: Preventing Strokes

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control is outlining the importance of preventing strokes, especially here in the Mid-South.

"In Memphis, we have the highest IV TPA rate among anywhere else in the world," explains Dr. Chiu Yuen To, a Neurosurgeon at Saint Francis Hospital-Memphis. TPA is the clot-buster medication used for patients suffering a stroke.

Dr. To says no one is immune to them, but there are increased risk factors for patients. "Obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure all can cause a stroke, but smoking by far causes more strokes than anything else," he explains.

About three years ago, Kris Dietrich suffered one of her own. She says she saw a quick flash of lights before her eyes as she was pumping gas, and was concerned, but didn't notice any immediate effects.

"I thought, oh, guess I'm okay." That is, until moments later, at a red light, she passed out and rolled into the intersection. When officers helped her out of the car, she explains she was slurring her speech and stumbling. An ambulance took her immediately to St. Francis hospital, where she was administered TPA.

Dr. To says time is not on your side, and the faster you can get medical assistance, the better your chance of recovery. He says, "Every minute is 1.6 million brain cells," that you're losing.

Dietrich says, "I said what would have happened if I hadn't gotten here, and he said, 'you would have been dead or a veggie’."

According to the CDC from 2000 to 2015, in both Tennessee and Mississippi, death rates from strokes have increased. They continued to decrease steadily in Arkansas. 

 


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