NewsLocal News


Updated stroke guidelines lead to better awareness, prevention

Medical objects
Posted at 8:29 PM, Mar 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-15 12:14:51-04

For every 100,000 people in Nueces county, 80 of them will experience a stroke, said Corpus Christi Medical Center Associate Medical Director Dr. Juan Ramirez.

"You should act very fast because there is a very narrow window — in case there is a blood clot in the brain, like a heart attack in the brain — that we can give a medication that can reverse the symptoms," he said.

Recently, the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association released updated guidelines for doctors to follow in the treatment of stroke patients.

The changes are updates to common-sense advice doctors have been giving patients for years.

Some contributing factors to a stroke include age and lifestyle choices.

"People who are overweight or sedentary or people who abuse alcohol or drugs are more prone to develop strokes," he said. "Not counting if you have baseline diabetes."

For those in the Coastal Bend, being aware of what to look for and ways to prevent it can be the difference between life and death.

Statistics show someone has a stroke every 40 seconds in the U.S., and every 4 minutes, someone dies of a stroke, so it's important to recognize the signs of a stroke and to get help quickly.

Doctors say seeking care within hours is key to avoid long-term damage, especially since first responders play a huge role in determining how a patient is treated upon arrival to an ER.

Patients enter the emergency room with two types of strokes, either an ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke:

  • Ischemic strokes are caused by blockage of an artery, or in rare instances, a vein. It's the most common type and accounts for about 87 per cent of stroke victims.
  • Hemorrhagic strokes occur when a blood vessel that supplies the brain ruptures and bleeds; they account for about 13 per cent of stroke cases.

However, there are ways to reduce your risk.

If you're the type of person who likes to sit, Ramirez said, he recommends you start exercising. And for those who are obese, it's time to start a weight-loss program.

Digital content producer Ana Tamez contributed to this story.