Learning the signs of a stroke to preserve the quality of your life

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – According to the National Stroke Association, nearly 800,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke every year.

May is National Stroke Awareness Month and with a stroke happening every 40 seconds in the nation, knowing how to identify symptoms is an important key.

Dr. Hartej Sethi, neurologist at the Cotton O’Niel Center said, “One of the arteries or blood vessles to the brain gets blocked – in most circumstances by a clot.  And within seconds of that the brain cells that are supplied by that amount of blood start to die.”

For Wyoming Snyder of Topeka, quick action was her immediate thought when she had a stroke earlier this year.

“I’d start to say something and I can’t talk or I’m not talking like I should,” Snyder said. “And she said ‘are you having a stroke? – and I said ‘I think I am’.”

Snyder had a mini stroke at home and developed more serious symptoms at the hospital. Thankfully, doctors were able to quickly help her.

“We looked at this artery as it’s going into the right side of her brain this bright light – and that’s exactly the spot where the clot is blocking blood flow to two thirds of the right hemisphere of the brain,” said Dr. Sethj.

Doctor Sethj says strokes can be minor to major and can happen often, especially if you have risk factors. These factors include age, hypertension and diabetes.

Doctors at Stormont Vail urge you to use the acronym F-A-S-T to identify when you or a loved one is having a stroke.


F: If there’s droopiness of the face on one side or the other

A: If one of your arms is weaker than the other

S: If you’re having slurred speech or difficulty making words

T: If you are having these symptoms, time is of the essence. Call 911 and get to an emergency room as soon as possible.


For patients who don’t get medical help right away, the quality of life greatly diminishes.

“30 minute delay to get the treatment done – to get that clot out,” Dr. Sethkj said. “There’s a 10% reduction in your ability to live independently. “

Many stroke victims experience paralysis, numbness and impairments in speech and swallowing. Because Snyder knew the acronym F-A-S-T, she was in the hospital getting her procedure done within and hour and 10 minutes of her stroke onset, giving her an extraordinary outcome and preserving her high quality of life.

Snyder said she feels great and is able to do everything normally.

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