It’s Tuesday, Red Shoe Day and World Stroke Day. I’ll tie them together. Just give me a minute. A lot of people in my family and circle of friends have been affected by strokes. My grandfather, father, niece (and she was only 30) and many others close to me — young people — have had strokes.
Know the signs, and don’t ignore them. During a stroke, blood doesn’t flow properly in the brain, so stroke victims may not realize that something is wrong. It’s up to the rest of us. Here are signs to never ignore if they come on suddenly:
Severe headache. My niece, mom of a newborn at the time, had a headache — not just any headache. Her husband took her to the ER, and she had a stroke in the ER. She recovered within months, but a headache isn’t always just a headache.
Numbness. In my dad’s case, it was numbness of his fingers. He didn’t recognize it as a symptom. We caught it because he didn’t sound right when I called him, and a neighbor checked on him for me. The neighbor called 911, and my dad was very lucky. No permanent damage, but he spent six months relearning a lot of common tasks. A friend of mine also passed off numbness as nothing wrong until her family insisted they all go to the ER where they learned she had a stroke.
Arm weakness. Don’t pass it off as a cramp or too much exercise if it comes on suddenly.
Difficulty speaking or thinking can be a sign of stroke. Slurring words, confusion or an inability to understand or comply with simple commands can be a sign that something is wrong.
Local hospitals are on the case
Clot-buster medications can help many stroke victims. Click here to read stroke survival stories from UPMC Hamot. Visit the Saint Vincent Stroke Center for more information on its stories and technology.
The American Heart Association has more information. And women should visit Goredforwomen.org to learn more about how heart disease affects women. It still kills more women than all cancers combined.
Get out the red shoes every Tuesday
Wearing red shoes on Tuesday is part of a movement of women supporting women for career success. Mariela Dabbah started the Red Shoe Movement to support Latino women. Red Shoe Tuesdays shouts out our support for women moving into management careers. Men often wear red ties or red socks as support. Even Richard Royce (Kevin Bishop) from Rebel Wilson‘s sitcom “Super Fun Night” wears a red tie.
Stay healthy, everyone!
Pam Parker is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyle, Her Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa. She is mom to three, stepmom to three and GramPam to one.