Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix says strokes can happen to anyone at any time
PHOENIX — Stroke is one of the leading causes of death in the United States and that’s why KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Community Spotlight for this month shines a light on a Valley stroke center.
About 795,000 people have a stroke each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with someone in the country dying every 3.5 minutes from the disease.
Around 610,000 of those strokes were the first time a person had suffered from the condition, according to the CDC.
“A stroke can happen to any person at any time, and of any age,” Dr. Michael Waters, director of the Neurovascular Division and the Petznick Stroke Center at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, told KTAR News 92.3 FM.
“Typically, stroke is considered a disease of an aging population, and by and large that is true, your rate does increase as we grow older, but there are many different types of conditions and particular features that make this a disease of the young and the old.”
Waters said risk factors for young people include certain cardiac arrhythmia, injuries like dissections of blood vessels that feed the brain, as well as autoimmune diseases.
“There’s a myriad of other types of causes of strokes that can afflict a younger population as well.”
Dan Beach, known to Valley drivers as Detour Dan on KTAR News 92.3 FM, had a stroke May 13, 2019, at the age of 57. He suffered the stroke at the station and alerted News Director Martha Maurer, with Maurer quickly calling 911 to get Beach the medical help he needed.
After suffering a second stroke, Beach made his return to the airwaves a few months later.
“Be fast, that’s what you got to remember,” Beach said, speaking of the acronym “BE FAST.”
“If you think you or a loved one has had a stroke for the following: B for balance difficulties, E for eyes with blurred vision, F for facial drooping, A for arm weakness, S for sudden balance, speech or vision difficulties and T for time to call 911.”
More information on the signs of a stroke can be found on the CDC’s website.
Waters said when someone is having a stroke, calling 911 is the most imperative thing to do.
“A stroke is a time-critical disease, and the faster you present to the hospital and get worked up for that, the more options I have in terms of treating,” Waters said.
“We know historically and statistically that the sooner treatment begins, the better the odds for a good outcome for the patient is.”
Waters encourages people who notice signs of the condition but aren’t sure they are having a stroke to seek medical attention just in case.
“There are things we call stroke mimics, and we’re pretty good at spotting those and if you come to the emergency room and you’re suffering from a stroke mimic, it will not take us long to figure that out and we can tidy things up and send you on your way,” Waters said.
“If you are having a stroke, you absolutely need to be in the emergency department being evaluated by a neurologist because that will give you the best chance and the highest odds of having a good outcome and recovery from a stroke.”
Stroke is the leading cause of serious long-term disability, the CDC said, and costs related to the disease cost nearly $53 billion between 2017 and 2018.