Warning Signs/Risk Factors for Stroke

I had no warning signs, none.  This happened to me out of the blue one morning.  I felt absolutely fine the days/weeks/months prior to my stroke.  One morning I just collapsed.  I kinda knew at the time I was having a stroke.  It actually went through my mind.  The doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me(that’s a story for another day) but I think I knew.  I hope this never happens to you, if it did I’m sorry.  It sucks, I know.  🙂  It happened very fast for me but there are things to look for if you feel off.  In school, they taught us to look for the 5D’s and 3 N’s.  These stand for…..

  1. Diplopia (double vision)
  2. Dizziness
  3. Drop Attack (meaning you just fall down – you drop – it doesn’t mean dropping things)
  4. Dysarthria (trouble speaking)
  5. Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)
  6. Nystagmus (an eye thing where your eyeballs move back and forth involuntarily)
  7. Nausea
  8. Numbness

I had a lot of these.  Not all of them but most of them.  In fact I had all but two.  I don’t know if I had nystagmus and I never had numbness but I had everything else.  Dysphagia was terrible.  In the hospital, my swallowing was evaluated and it wasn’t up to par so for a couple weeks I wasn’t allowed to have water.  I was only allowed to suck on a wet sponge.  Oh my gosh this was awful!  Good thing I can laugh about it now!

Here are the risk factors…..

  1. High blood pressure
  2. Atrial fibrillation
  3. High cholesterol
  4. Diabetes
  5. Atherosclerosis
  6. Circulation problems
  7. Tobacco use
  8. Alcohol use
  9. Physical inactivity
  10. Obesity
  11. Age
  12. Gender (males have more strokes)
  13. Race (African Americans have the most strokes)
  14. Family history
  15. Previous stroke or TIA (transient ischemic attack)
  16. Fibromuscular dysplasia
  17. PFO (I disagree with this one because of the current research, see my earlier post.  However, it’s still listed as a risk factor on all kinds of medical websites so I put it here)

Numbers 1-10 are controllable.  So I control them.  I can’t do anything about the rest of them though.  They are what they are and they’ll be with me forever.

Categories: Stroke stuff

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