PARKERSBURG, W. Va. (WTAP) - 12 years ago, A Camden Clark neurologist says he woke up suddenly in the middle of the night.
“I had severe headache and imbalance. I had a little headache earlier in the day which was light migraine headaches that I had had before with some visual symptoms off on one side so I thought nothing of it. So when I woke up in the middle of the night, and was still groggy, I personally was still thinking that's what it was. Until my wife who really knew that things were worse said, 'it's worse than that, we're going to the emergency room.” Dr. Barry Louden was having a stroke.
“It was an extremely scary thing for her” he says about his wife.
Dr. Louden says his was a common problem with people having a stroke.
“People who have strokes often think ‘nah’ It can't be that. I couldn't have a stroke I don't have risk factors for a stroke.” He explains.
Luckily his stroke didn't cause any permanent damage, but he says it changed the way he treats his patients.
"It certainly does change my perspective. It did and it continues to. It creates a much great appreciation for little, very subtle things that might be indicators."
Dr. Louden says the important signs to know that a person is having a stroke can be remembered with the acronym "FAST". Look for facial weakness, someone might have a droopy face or a lopsided looking face.
Arm weakness, simply asking someone to hold his or hers arms out and a weak arm might drop a little bit and twist. Trouble with speech, speech might be slurred or not sensical. Or people might look confused because they don't understand speech.
And time, the earlier a stroke can be treated the more likelihood that someone can have a complete recovery from a stroke, according to Louden.
He says strokes are preventable even after you've already had one. “The things that we can do to prevent strokes from happening in the first place and help prevent stroke from happening after one has are keeping our weight close to ideal getting 30 minutes of exercise every day we can.”