Michelle Rupp: Hello and welcome into this week’s edition of AFMC TV. Thank you for joining us today. We are talking about the subject of stroke. And joining me who knows a thing or two about this subject is Dr Beth Milligan. So, this is this is a subject near and dear to your heart.
Dr. Beth Milligan: It is.
MR: So, let’s just start with the at a very basic level. What causes stroke?
BM: We know that stroke is usually caused by one of two things. Either a vessel is going to get blocked, and it starves the tissue of oxygen on the other side of that blockage or you’re going to have a rupture of the vessel? It’ll burst in a rupture, and it’ll bleed out.
MR: Okay. So, is this something that can take place at any age?
BM: It actually can. We’ve seen children have strokes. Very young children. It tends to actually become more of a problem as you get in your 50s where that pretty much doubles your chance of having a stroke.
MR: What role does stress play in in this or do we know scientifically?
BM: Well, I mean stress can play a role in most any medical problems we have. And stress tends to make us not follow the guidelines we’ve been told to follow. We tend to not be as compliant because we’re trying to deal with the stress at the time. So, I think it probably pays a big role in strokes.
MR: What are the differences? We hear terminology; TIAs, or mini strokes, or stroke. Can you discuss what kind of each one of those mean what is a TIA and how serious is that versus like a stroke? Because I think sometimes, we think stroke is like the big kahuna.
BM: They’re actually used interchangeably sometimes. However, pretty much many strokes and TIAs are pretty much synonymous now. And mini stroke is. First of all, talk about a TIA Transient ischemic attack. That means that vessel closes down for a shorter period of time, but for some reason it will open back up. So, it will open back up. It’s more temporary. It’s kind of, you hear people say well I had a mini stroke, but it got better. A full-blown stroke is a full-blown, cerebral vascular incident where it’s much longer than any of the mini strokes you would have.
MR: And much more serious.
BM: Oh yes. Way more serious.
MR: Okay well, you’re speaking a little bit from experience here, would you like to share a little bit of your story?
BM: Well, I’m very passionate about it because at the age of 53 years old I had a pretty intensive full blown, as you say big kahuna stroke. I was just a cooking dinner and noticed my face started getting numb. I couldn’t make my tongue work and I tried to tell my husband something was wrong. I was able to diagnose myself which I think was very important. I had had trained, I’m a physician. I had trained, so I knew that I needed to get help. So knowing the signs and symptoms I think was the most important thing for me. And the fact that I’m here sitting in front of you without deficit. And that’s my story that I want to tell people is how to recognize strokes and what to do if you have those signs and symptoms.
MR: And what do you do, and how do you recognize? You had presence of mind.
BM: Yeah. Well, okay, I’m going to really teach you a quick acronym that could save your life and it’s taught by the American Heart and American Stroke Associations. It’s called FAST. First of all facial. If you’re not sure, my face was numb, my tongue was numb, and I was reaching up and I couldn’t figure out why it’s numb. So if you’re with someone you can notice there’s probably asymmetry. The face has dropped on one side. Mine was. Just take a look at them. Number two. If you can yourself, I did myself, raise your arms up. If one of the arms drops down, you can do it to a friend say, put your arms up. They’ll be like usually one side will drop down. And then you want to be able to have them speak. I couldn’t speak at all and most of the people speech is impaired at that point and not everyone. But if their face is dropping and their arms are dropping and there’s a speech issue. I did that on myself too. And then time. Time is the golden answer right here. I did know once I literally within seconds I realized I was having a stroke, I looked at the clock and remember the time. Because you have that golden window to get to the hospital. They say to call an ambulance and have an ambulance, get you and you can tell them on the phone. I believe I’m having a stroke. Because once you hit the emergency room, you go into what they call a code stroke and everybody, every team member is involved, and they know what to do at that point. It literally is a well-oiled clock, everyone knows what to do. And it is the action is started. At that point, you’re able to perhaps change the outcome of what would happen. Michelle 70 to 80 percent of the strokes are preventable. So, if we know what to do to prevent them, that’s important. But if we know what to do once we’re having when we can still decrease the devastating effects of what might happen if you can’t get to the hospital on time.
MR: So how do you prevent them?
BM: Well, preventing them is from a lot of the topics you’ve done in the past. Keeping your blood pressure under control. If you smoke, stop. If you’re diabetic, get your diabetes under control. And if you’re heavy, get outside and lose weight. Those are some of the biggest things you can do and of course stress you’ve talked about numerous times try to control your stress. But those are the biggies.
MR: Okay. So fast forward. No lingering effects
BM: For the most part night. Sometimes I noticed some little fine motor issues. I’m left-handed, it was on my left side and I noticed that a little bit. And I think my balance is not as good. But you know what those are aging. It might be because I’m a little older. It could be. But for the most part, you know, I haven’t noticed any cognitive issues or physical issues that have slowed me down.
MR: That’s amazing. Does it always happen on the right side or the left side? BM Oh no, it can happen on either side. The different very strokes. Mine just happened to be up in the right part of my brain and I’m left hand dominant and that was the side. I knew pretty much when I reached up and felt my face and I tried to talk that I was having a stroke. I didn’t know why, but I know I was having a stroke and I just I’m very thankful that that I was able to be cognitively intact enough to know and get help.
MR: Yes, definitely. Well and your experience and you talking about your experience, no telling how many lives that has impacted and potentially saved because they’ve heard your story. So, thank you for sharing it today.
BM: Thank you for having me.
MR: And thank you so much for joining us. We’ll see you back here next week for more AFMC TV.