brain attack2

Time lost is brain lost, said Dr. Maidy Ann V. Arguelles, a local neurologist, during the wellness seminar on Brain Attack, at VSU’s Center for Continuing Education, August 8.

“Stroke is a medical emergency no matter how mild the symptoms are,” said Dr. Arguelles as she emphasized how critical time is in treating stroke. A person with symptoms of stroke should be brought to the hospital immediately, Dr. Arguelles advised. Symptoms include face drooping, arm weakness, and speech difficulty.

Stroke patients can still be given recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rtPA) treatment within three hours from the onset of stroke symptoms. Studies have evaluated the efficacy, safety, and timing of rtPA administration, supporting the claims that treating eligible patients with rtPA as quickly as possible can highly improve a patient’s situation.

Physical therapy for patients should also be done immediately after treatment. Treated stroke patients, Dr. Arguelles said, should be aggressive in undergoing rehabilitation for at least six months.

Whatever deficiencies a patient experiences due to stroke, such as slurred speech, may become permanent if a patient does not undergo rehabilitation immediately, Dr. Arguelles warned.

While there are medical advancements in treating stroke, Dr. Arguelles said it is always better to seek prevention than treatment.  

“80% of the stroke is preventable,” said Dr. Arguelles. The 20% chance of getting “brain attack” is obtained by an inherent predisposition owing to a history of stroke among family members or a previous personal experience. Age, sex, and race are also among the factors that expose one to the risk of experiencing stroke, Dr. Arguelles said.

Asian men, aged 55 and above, are found to be highly vulnerable to stroke. However, 60% of the people who die from stroke are women who have experienced menopause at an early age.

To prevent stroke, Dr. Arguelles advised quitting cigarette smoking and eating less salty food. Controlling blood pressure, preventing heart diseases, reducing blood cholesterol levels, and losing excess weight are ways to do away with stroke.   

Dr. Arguelles also said recognizing symptoms of transient ischemic attack or commonly known as mini-stroke is also important in preventing stroke. The most common symptoms include vision changes, speech trouble, confusion, numbness, body weakness, and a muscular weakness on one side of the body.

To be familiar with one’s personal risk for stroke, Dr. Arguelles introduced the Stroke Score Card from the National Stroke Association in the US.

rsd risk scorecard front full

The Brain Attack seminar is one of the activities of the VSU’s 92nd Founding Anniversary celebration.