Yes it’s true an ischemic stroke can happen to anyone. One common cause of a stroke especially this time of year is a slip and fall on the ice, or any uneven surface. If a fall occurs and you hit your head you may suffer a form of stroke. There is new research coming out of Ronald Regan UCLA Medical Center which suggests that all you have is 3 hours to reverse or decrease the damage caused from this head trauma.

This same updated evidence has found individuals under the age of 45 are less aware of the symptoms associated with Stroke.  Also this population of individuals reported they were 75% less likely to seek medical attention after experience any symptoms of stroke. This is a real problem. Especially living out here on the east end where it may take time to get to the local hospital in the first place. South Hampton hospital has achieved the proper accreditation to be rated a top stroke center in Suffolk County.

3 hours may seem like a long time, but when it is describing permanent disability your body may experience 3 hours is not enough time to delay seeking medical attention. Individual in this research study reported their first reaction to any stroke symptom would be to rest wait and see if symptoms improved on their own. This is otherwise known as doing nothing and hoping for a miracle. As a physical therapist I encounter this behavior quite often among patients. Who were hoping their pain would improve on its own and then become frustrated when they end up requiring 8 weeks of physical therapy services verses what could have possible been resolved in 4 weeks if medical treatment was received early on. Stroke is no different in this treatment approach but the consequences can be much more devastating.

“Timely treatment for stroke is probably more important than for almost any other medical problem there is,” David Liebeskind, MD, professor of neurology, director of Outpatient Stroke and Neurovascular Programs and director of the Neurovascular Imaging Research Core at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, said in a news release. “

Stroke affects roughly 795,000 individuals in the U.S. each year and the number of adults between the ages of 18-45 is the age group that has increased most significantly, by as much as 53% in the past five years according to some studies. This surge in younger stroke victims is in part due to the increased number of individuals who live with high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and smoking. These comorbidities are often poorly controlled in this age group of individuals who seek medical attention less often.

We need to get the message out about 1.) What are the signs of a Stroke and 2.) The urgency and importance behind seeking medical attention right away if these symptoms develop.

There is a very limited window in which to start treatment because the brain is very sensitive to a lack of blood flow or to bleeding, and the longer patients wait, the more devastating the consequences.

The easy way to spot and or remember the signs of a stroke is to memorize the acronym FAST. Which stands for F= face dropping, A= arm weakness, S= speech difficulty, T= time to call 911.

So please be careful on ice as this weather begins to change on us in order to avoid head injury and stroke. And remember regardless of your age a Stroke can occur. So be aware of the symptoms and waste no time getting medical treatment. Thank you!


As Always Yours in Healing,

Dr. Rachel Lys DPT