Since May is American Stroke Month and National Blood Pressure Month, it’s only fitting that we take a closer look. As Dr. Shillingford focuses much of his practice on performing gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band surgery (which requires patients to be obese or overweight), his patients are at a higher risk of heart issues, including high blood pressure and stroke. While we hope Dr. Shillingford’s patients will not experience a stroke, we do think it’s important for his patients to be able to recognize the symptoms. This is important for not only themselves, but also to be able to recognize the symptoms in case they happen to a someone else.
What Does a Stroke Feel Like?
Below are some classic signs of a stroke. It’s important to note that anyone suffering a stroke may experience only some of these symptoms. Not all symptoms have to be present for it to be a medical emergency or to seek treatment.
- Difficulty speaking or understanding others
- Numbness or drooping on one side of the face
- Numbness or drooping on one side of the body
- Trouble walking or maintaining balance
- Sudden vision problems, including blurring or loss of vision
- Sudden severe headache
- Difficulty swallowing
- Confusion and memory problems
What Should You Do?
If you or someone else is having a stroke, what should you do? Use the acronym Act FAST.
F- Facial drooping
A- Arm weakness
S- Speech difficulty
T- Time to call 911 or emergency services
If their smile is abnormally uneven, they can not raise both arms equally, and/or have difficulty repeating a simple phrase, it’s best to call emergency services. The sooner a stroke is treated, generally the better the recovery.
Although obesity can raise a person’s risk of having a stroke, it’s not only Dr. Shillingford’s weight loss surgery patients (gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, gastric band, and revisional surgery) who are at risk. Other risk factors can include history of smoking, stress, high blood pressure, diabetes, sedentary lifestyle, depression, and vascular disease. These risk factors can occur is such a wide variety of people, that it’s important for all of Dr. Shillingford’s patients to be aware of the symptoms of a stroke, including those who see Dr. Shillingford for other types of general surgery, including hernia surgery, gallbladder removal, appendectomy, polypectomy, and bowel resections.
Know the symptoms, help save a life!