Screening for stroke can save lives - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Screening for stroke can save lives

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More than 160-thousand people die from strokes each year. But many of those deaths could be prevented if people just get screened.

"Just was a feeling, a sense that I've never had before. I just couldn't control myself," said Willie Askew. 78-year-old Willie Askew says the symptoms came on suddenly. Blurry vision and weakness. He didn't think too much of it, but his family urged him to go to the hospital. "I wasn't worried because I was one of those guys that really loved the Lord and trusted him," said Willie. But sure enough doctors found something very wrong. Willie was having a stroke. "He had strokes on the right side of the brain that deals with motor and sensory that affect the arm and face," said Dr. Muneshwar Tiwari.

Neurologist Dr. Muneshwar Tiwari says Willie's stroke was caused by blocked arteries in his brain, the result of high cholesterol and hypertension, two risk factors that could have been treated early if he had just been tested. "Anybody over 50 that has family members at risk and family with risk factors that don't even know it themselves, should be screened for it," said Tiwari. Besides high blood pressure and cholesterol, Dr Tiwari says other risk factors include diabetes, obesity, tobacco use and living a sedentary lifestyle. By screening and treating those risk factors, studies show that up to 80 percent of strokes can be prevented. "As far as I'm concerned, it's vitally important. You feel bad you should get to the doctor as soon as you can," said Willie.

Willie didn't get to the hospital in time to get stroke-reversing medication that has to be given within three hours of the stroke. But doctors gave him other types of treatment, including blood thinners and blood pressure drugs.

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