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Institute starts campaign for stroke awareness

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has started a campaign designed to minimize the damage caused by stroke, with the theme: “Know the Signs. Act in Time.”

The idea is to get out word about stroke symptoms, with the hope that bystanders can get medical help for a stroke victim as soon as possible, and reduce the chances for death or more severe disabilities such as paralysis.

According to the Institute, there are two major kinds of stroke.

The far more common is an ischemic stroke, caused by a blood clot that blocks or plugs a blood vessel or artery in the brain. About 80 percent of all strokes are ischemic.

Risk factors for the blood clots that can trigger an ischemic stroke include long periods of physical inactivity, a family history of blood clots, pregnancy and use of birth control pills. But while all birth control pills can increase the risk of blood clots, a number of studies indicate that pills with the compound drospirenone can increase that risk up to three times more than other oral contraceptives on the market.

Pills with drospirenone include Yasmin, Yaz, Beyaz and Ocella.

The second type of stroke, known as a hemorrhagic stroke, is caused by a blood vessel in the brain that breaks and bleeds into the brain. About 20 percent of strokes are hemorrhagic.

The Institute says symptoms of stroke are distinct because they happen quickly. They include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg (especially on one side of the body)
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

If you believe someone is having a stroke — if he or she suddenly loses the ability to speak, or move an arm or leg on one side, or experiences facial paralysis on one side — call 911 immediately, the Institute says.

Patients should consult their doctors before making any changes in their medication. A consultation with a Beyaz lawyer is also important if there are significant injuries while on Beyaz or similar birth control pills.

See more information here:

http://stroke.nih.gov/index.htm