TREATMENT: Treatment usually begins in the emergency room, so doctors can diagnose the type of stroke you are having. You may be given drugs to dissolve a possible clot or reduce the swelling in the brain. For ischemic stroke, the drug tPA has been proven by several large clinical trials to help patients recover. However, those trials show that if given later than three hours after a person first realizes he is having stroke symptoms, tPA can cause dangerous bleeding in the brain. Doctors say it is only safe to give tPA within three hours of the beginning of stroke symptoms, which is why physicians think recognizing stroke symptoms and getting to the hospital immediately is so important.
STROKE IQ: A National Stroke Association study shows most Americans do not treat stroke as an emergency. A survey reports one in three Americans cannot name a single symptom a person might experience while having a stroke. Women may report unique stroke symptoms such as sudden face and limb pain, hiccups, nausea, general weakness, chest pain, shortness of breath and palpitations.
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Cindy Nelson, Public Affairs
The Mayo Clinic