May is National Stroke Awareness Month


JOPLIN, Mo. — May is National Stroke Awareness Month.

Doctors at Freeman Health System say awareness and time is the key to prevention and treatment.

Especially in one recent case that found their emergency room.

Dr. Kenneth Offutt, Freeman ER Physician, said, “She couldn’t move her left side at all, she couldn’t speak at all. In sensical, or in complete sentences. She couldn’t articulate what she wanted to tell us. You could tell she was frustrated.”

Those were the symptoms for Linda Linam, pretty typical for a stroke.

But in just 13 minutes time, doctors were able to diagnose her, give her a CT scan, and give her a clot-busting drug called Tissue Plasminogen Activator, or TPA.

The gold standard at Freeman Health System is 60 minutes.

“The stars kind of aligned and the times kind of showed that. So it doesn’t happen that way all of the time. It happens quickly all the time but not as quickly as certainly this case did.”

Doctors use the phrase Time is Brain, when referring to strokes. Which can be the difference between life and death.

“The more time you spend without oxygen flow to your brain, the more damage you have to your brain and the less likely you are to recover from your symptoms or to get function back where you’ve lost it.”

And its not just those advanced in age that needs to worry about strokes. Uppal says they can happen to anyone.

Dr. Gulshan Uppal, Freeman Neurologist, said, “35% of strokes in the United States happen in people less than 65 years old. So, still the majority is people over the age of 65, but like I said, one third of the cases were below 65.”

After another procedure and stay at KU med center in Kansas City, Linman has now recovered and is even driving again. However that isn’t the case for everyone.

“In America, every forty seconds someone is having a stroke. And every 4 minutes someone is dying from a stroke. So we really need to get on this and take care of it.”

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