In March of 2010, I wrote an article about three incredibly talented, dedicated men that had fallen victim of the third leading cause of death in the United States. A fisherman, a native Kansan and a long-haired country boy all experienced a stroke. Each man, to a different degree, but each of no less importance.
Each new case gives us much needed information on what to do and what not to do when stroke hits. Captain Phil Harris, Kerry Livgren and Charlie Daniels were three unique individuals with three considerably different outcomes.
Sadly, stroke claimed the life of Captain Phil Harris. Transversely, out of the 4 million stroke survivors in the United States living with after-effects, Charlie Daniels and Kerry Livgren are determined now, more than ever, to carry on.
Recently, stroke attempted to claim another well known celebrity, but details about his ordeal are yet, unclear. According to sources, English actor, singer, composer and voice actor, Tim Curry, 67, was originally reported to be “…doing great”, by the Daily Mail, after suffering a major stroke at his Hollywood Hills Home.
This May 23, 2013 breaking news, initially had very few details about this stroke, sources close to the actor said he was having debilitating asthma attacks following a chest infection.
Following the initial report, Mr. Curry’s medical issues began surfacing online among the various news outlets. When the reported facts were verified, it seemed that Curry actually suffered his stroke in July of 2012! What?
Upon hearing the bubbling gossip that was circulating through the rumor mill, his longtime friend and voiceover agent, Marcia Hurwitz, immediately contacted USA Today to set the record straight, confirming that Mr. Curry did suffer a stroke last July, but, added that early reports of Curry’s speech being impaired was untrue and not the case at all.
“Tim is doing great. He absolutely can speak and is recovering at this time…” she said, “…he’s been going to physical therapy doing very well and in great humor. He thanks everyone for sending him good wishes,” according to Hurwitz.
Stroke is a silent killer that shouldn’t be ignored. Each report of stroke seems to defy the norm and adds new information to stroke education. No two strokes seem to be alike.
In an alarming coincidence..MSNBC reported, Arizona fraternal twins, Kathryn and Kimberly Tucker, both suffered strokes nine months apart at the age of 26. Stating, since they aren’t identical, their DNA is not the same. Nor do they have any other family history of strokes. The Tuckers are now the subject of medical scrutiny as to how this could happen to such young sisters. Doctors are looking into the twins’ lifestyles — the similarities vary but both have an occasional migraine.
Although doctors found a small perforation in Kathryn’s heart that could have contributed to the stroke, her sister doesn’t have the same condition, which only heightens the mystery.
Two million brain cells die every minute during a stroke, increasing risk of permanent brain damage, disability or death, according to stroke statistics provided by The Stroke Center at University Hospital, Newark, New Jersey. Recognizing subtle symptoms and reacting quickly to get medical attention can save a life and limit disabilities.
“First of all, if you begin to feel a stiffness in your limbs or face or if one or more of your limbs start to become difficult to control, immediately chew up a couple of aspirin and head for the nearest hospital or clinic.”, Charlie Daniels warns, “Don’t procrastinate or try to tell yourself it’s going to go away. You only have three hours from the time you feel a stroke coming on to get a shot of tPA (Tissue Plasminogen Activator) into your system to break up the blood clots that are causing the stroke. So don’t play with your life, get help.”
In the United States, it is estimated that nearly 795,000+ strokes will occur this year. That’s nearly one person every 45 seconds. 500,000 of these are first attacks, and 200,000 are recurrent attacks. Every 3.3 minutes stroke will kill someone, approximately 137,000 people each year. Stroke is a leading cause in serious, long-term disability. In 2010, it was estimated, directly and indirectly, that stroke cost Americans 73.7 billion dollars.
American musician’s/writer’s, Kerry Livgren, a founding member of the world class rock band, Kansas, and Charlie Daniels, country & southern rock legend, have made the list of more than 6 million people in the United States today who have survived having a stroke. Four out of five families will be affected in some way by stroke in the course of a lifetime.
Seconds count after symptoms are apparent and the sooner a patient gets to a medical facility, the better the chances of recovery. Medical sources agree with Mr. Daniels, you have a three hour window from the onset of stroke symptoms to administration of the clotbuster agent, tPA. The medical community refers to “door-to-needle” time, which is the time between a patient’s arrival at a medical facility and the intravenous introduction of the tissue-plasminogen activator.
The National Stroke Association posted a year old article from Science Daily’s writer Al Ford. Diagnosing acute stroke is a high-pressure decision. The speed with which treatment is delivered makes all the difference. Early treatment can stop brain damage, but if treatment is given inappropriately, it can dangerously increase the risk of bleeding in the brain.
Because of this risk, the final decision to administer stroke treatment—a clot-busting enzyme known as tissue plasminogen activator (tPA)—is usually reserved for neurologists or, in some cases, other attending physicians. But now a study conducted by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis with neurology residents at Barnes-Jewish Hospital has shown that residents with appropriate training can safely make the call, ensuring that effective treatment is delivered faster.
“Door-to-needle” times…were reduced by 26%, from an average of 81 minutes to 60 minutes. “What’s critical here is ability to safely reduce ‘door-to-needle’ time without unnecessarily increasing the risk of a brain hemorrhage,” says Jin-Moo Lee, M.D.,
Ph.D., director of the cerebrovascular section in Neurology at Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital. “I have seen the hand of God extended over me in the past when I was in a dangerous situation and I knew He was near.”, recalls Mr. Daniels, “There were so many things that made me know that God was ordering our steps…as I said, nothing less than the hand of God!”
Sometimes stroke is hard to identify due to continuing brain damage in the individual, but, there are “3 steps” to identifying stroke in an individual: 1. Ask the individual to smile. 2. Ask them to raise both arms. 3. Ask the person to speak their name and address. If any of these questions are suspect, called 9-1-1 immediately.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
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Additional web pages:
4. http://www.stroke.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=8075 – ScienceDaily (Feb. 24, 2009), author Al Ford