Recognizing a Second Stroke and Making an Emergency Action Plan
If you’ve had a stroke, you are a candidate for a second stroke. The statistics are pretty clear. Each year, about 795,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke. Out of that number, 185,000 are recurrent strokes. Strokes caused by carotid artery blockages, hardening of the arteries in the brain and untreated atrial fibrillation (a quivering or irregular heartbeat) have a higher risk of striking again.
But following your doctor’s orders, taking your medications correctly and making lifestyle changes can reduce your risk of a second stroke. You don’t have to live in fear, but always be prepared. Here are a few possible red flags:
- If you’re a survivor who deals with slurred speech and you suddenly have problems finding words, this could indicate a stroke in a different part of the brain.
- If you have one-sided weakness and suddenly get weak in another part of the body, you could be having another stroke. Additionally, any weakness that gets worse can signal a problem.
- If you suddenly can’t perform a task that was previously easy, get checked out.
Educate your family and caregivers about possible warning signs and have a plan in place. If you live alone, you should be able to dial 911 on your own. But, don’t delay and don’t drive yourself to the hospital!