Strokes affect more than 110,000 people in France every year. A stroke can be fatal and cause serious consequences if not treated in time. Here are the symptoms that should alert you.
More and more patients are becoming victimsstroke. Every year, no less than 110,000 people are hospitalized for a stroke in France. To ensure rapid treatment and limit the consequences of a stroke, it is necessary to know how to recognize the symptoms immediately. Dr. Anne Ferrier, neurologist, directs the neurovascular unit of the Clermont-Ferrand University Hospital. On World Stroke Day, October 29, we asked her about stroke symptoms. Indicates: “There are no warning signs. When the first signs come, they come very suddenly, without warning.” Here’s what you need to know about strokes.
- Sudden loss of strength in an arm, leg or whole side, called hemiplegia
- The corner of the mouth that falls
- Sudden loss of sight in one eye: completely black vision
- Sudden loss of speech: inability to speak, inability to answer questions put to us, unintelligible language…
If you notice any of these symptoms in yourself or a third party, you must contact SAMU immediately, Dr. Ferrier explains: “ Above all, don’t say “I’ll wait and see what happens” because it can get worse during that time. It is necessary to perform 15 immediately, even if the symptoms return to normal. For example, if you notice paralysis of an arm or a leg, even if it lasts for a minute and there is nothing left after it, you still need to call 15.” The patient will meet with a medical regulatory assistant who will ask him questions, particularly about his past and the treatments he is taking: “Then the initiating doctor or prescription assistant initiates the transport: it could be an ambulance or the fire department coming to pick up the patient. A big advantage of calling 15 over 18, for example, is that the doctor dispatcher will alert all hospital teams where the patient will arrive. It will prevent emergencies, alert radiologists to quickly do a scan or MRI, and of course neurologists”. explains Anne Ferrier.
The challenge for doctors will be to distinguish very quickly between the 2 types of stroke: “In 80% of cases, it is an ischemic stroke or heart attack. It’s exactly the same mechanism as in the heart, it’s an artery that gets blocked by a clot. In 20% of cases, it can be a hemorrhage, a bleeding intracerebral artery. The medical team therefore performs a CT scan or MRI to determine what type of stroke it is and to tailor treatment that “it will be completely different one way or another”explains the neurologist.
Dr. Ferrier explains: “Today there is no treatment you can give to stop the bleeding. The only treatment is to check the blood pressure to make sure the pressure doesn’t get too high.”
According to Dr. Anne Ferrier has made great progress: “Treatment is carried out either by infusion of drugs, intravenously, which is called thrombolysis. It is a drug that destroys the clot. When the clot is large or in a large artery, it is associated with a mechanical gesture. This is called mechanical thrombectomy and allows the clot to be removed by passing through the inside of the blood vessels.
Anne Ferrier warning: every minute counts when you have a stroke. “It is estimated that 2 million neurons are lost per minute when an artery is blocked. It goes without saying that it is necessary to reduce the size of the affected brain area as quickly as possible and to be able to intervene quickly to restore the flow or, in connection with bleeding, to try to stop the bleeding.
“Anyone can have a stroke, even the youngest. But there are people who are at higher risk, they are those who have cardiovascular risk factors.”explains Dr. Ferrier.
Here are the most common risk factors:
- High blood pressure: do not exceed 14/9
- Heavy alcohol consumption
- Association with a sedentary lifestyle, overweight and/or lack of physical activity
- cardiac arrhythmia
Late treatment poses a risk of death: “Mortality is 10% in the first month”, explains the neurologist. It also warns of the risk of disability: “More than half of patients will have stroke sequelae, but some will have non-motor sequelae. You may also have an invisible handicap, i.e. significant fatigue, concentration problems… On the other hand, you may have a more severe handicap, especially a physical one, e.g. persistent paralysis or hemiplegia, which greatly limits autonomy. The consequences will depend on the size and area of the brain that is affected.
Prevention according to Dr. Ferriera includes screening and treating risk factors: “We know that half of people with hypertension don’t know it, and among those who know it and who get treatment, there are still half who are not well balanced. Treating hypertension is a big problem.” Public Health France advise ccontrol your blood pressureget angry healthycontrol your cholesterol5 years old and is physically active.
The incidence of cerebrovascular events is only increasing, mainly due to the aging of the population. The department of the Clermont-Ferrand University Hospital receives just over 700 patients each year. In Auvergne, this is approximately 3,500 blows per year.