Warn­ing signs of a stroke should not be ig­nored

North Penn Life - - Opinion -

Last Sun­day seemed like an un­event­ful day. How­ever, on that date in his­tory, many events oc­curred that are still re­mem­bered and ob­served.

On Oct. 14, 1960, the Demo­cratic can­di­date for pres­i­dent was John F. Kennedy. He gave a speech at the rniver­sity of Michi­gan and what fol­lowed, based on Kennedy’s sug­ges­tion, was the for­ma­tion of the Peace Corps. His con­cept had been de­vel­oped by Sen. Hu­bert Humphrey Jr., and the idea of help­ing peo­ple with so­cial and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment around the world went on to reach 138 coun­tries. Cur­rently, Peace Corps vol­un­teers work in more than 76 coun­tries.

On Oct. 14, 1947, a r.S. Air Force test pi­lot, Charles E. vea­ger, be­came the first per­son to break the sound bar­rier when he flew the X-1 rocket plane over Cal­i­for­nia.

Pi­lots had known that when an air­plane reaches speeds of ap­prox­i­mately 761 miles per hour, air waves pile up. Many peo­ple on the ground had be­come aware and fright­ened when a plane broke the sound bar­rier caus­ing an ex­tremely loud noise on the ground known as a sonic boom.

One of the so­lu­tions was build­ing planes with the wings an­gled back. The swept wing air­plane has made su­per­sonic flights easy to fly and less noisy.

Med­i­cally, nine pres­i­dents of the rnited States have died from the fourth lead­ing cause of death in this coun­try, a stroke.

In fact, more than 140,000 peo­ple die a year in the rnited States from com­pli­ca­tions of a stroke and more than 795,000 Amer­i­cans have a stroke each year. Of these, 600,000 suf­fer their first stroke.

Nearly three-quar­ters of all strokes oc­cur in peo­ple over age 65 but nearly one-quar­ter of strokes oc­cur in peo­ple younger than 65. Our sixth pres­i­dent, John nuincy Adams, had a stroke in 1848 at the age of 80. The 10th pres­i­dent, John Tyler, ap­par­ently suf­fered a stroke in 1862 when he was 71. Mil­lard Fill­more, the 13th pres­i­dent of the rnited States, had a stroke in 1874 at the age of 74. The 17th pres­i­dent, An­drew John­son, had a stroke at 66 in 1875. Chester A. Arthur, the 21st pres­i­dent, died from a stroke in 1886 when he was 57. He had be­come pres­i­dent af­ter the as­sas­si­na­tion of Pres­i­dent Garfield.

Woodrow Wil­son, the 28th pres­i­dent, died at 67 in 1924. Wil­son had sur­vived two ma­jor strokes and sev­eral mi­nor strokes. Frank- lin Delano Roo­sevelt, our 32nd pres­i­dent, died at 63 in 1945 from a stroke. Pres­i­dent Dwight David Eisen­hower, the 34th pres­i­dent, died of a stroke in 1969 at age 78. Richard Nixon, the 37th pres­i­dent, died at 81 from a stroke.

Four pres­i­dents died of nat­u­ral causes while in of­fice: Wil­liam H. Har­ri­son (31 daysF. wachary Tay­lor 1850; W.G. Hard­ing 1923 and Franklin D. Roo­sevelt 1945. Chester A. Arthur was the youngest pres­i­dent to die from a stroke.

Stroke warn­ing symp­toms are sud­den numb­ness or weak­ness of the arm, leg or face. Other symp­toms are sud­den dif­fi­culty see­ing with one or both eyes, on­set of dizzi­ness or loss of bal­ance or a se­vere headache.

Stroke preven­tion in­cludes con­trol of blood pres­sure and di­a­betes, avoid­ance of tobacco, con­trol of choles­terol and, of course, a checkup by the doc­tor.

A stroke is a med­i­cal emer­gency. In con­trast to an im­pend­ing heart at­tack, too of­ten, peo­ple who de­velop weak­ness in an arm or leg tend to play the “wait and see” game. They know some­thing is hap­pen­ing but wait to see if numb­ness or weak­ness go away be­fore get­ting help.

When chest pain oc­curs from se­vere angina or a heart at­tack, a per­son is more likely to call 911. It should be known by ev­ery­one that weak­ness or numb­ness of the face or limbs should also be a sig­nal to call 911. There are only a few hours fol­low­ing the be­gin­ning of symp­toms in which a hospi­tal can give a “clot bust­ing drug” to re­verse the start of a stroke. A trained emer­gency team will make the de­ci­sion whether a stroke is in progress or noth­ing is oc­cur­ring.

No one should take a “wait and see “at­ti­tude. No one should be­come a statis­tic by de­vel­op­ing a stroke that could have been re­versed.

Health & Sci­ence Dr. Mil­ton Fried­man

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