Mercy Vascular Surgeon Dr. Paul Lucas Discusses Stroke Risk In Women
Dr. Paul Lucas discusses the risks and signs of stroke during National Stroke Awareness Month.
The American Heart Association said one in three Americans were unable to recall any warning signs of a stroke, and a recent study by the group found that many women in the U.S. are unaware of what stroke warning signs are.
Mary Evans, 75, ended up with blocked arteries, which put her at high risk for a stroke. She said she had gone to an urgent care center for back pain when the doctor there told her the startling news.
"The doctor told me, 'Tell your primary doctor you have almost a complete blocking of your main artery,'" Evans recalled.
She wound up visiting Mercy vascular surgeon Dr. Paul Lucas.
"She ended up having an ultrasound that showed very high narrowing in both carotid systems, which posed a strong risk for her for strokes," Dr. Lucas said.
According to Dr. Lucas, surgical operation on Ms. Evans’ arteries helped prevent her from having a stroke, but many women have no idea of the risks and signs of stroke.
Dr. Lucas, who sees patients in Mercy’s Vascular Center, noted that smoking is one of the main ones, something he told Evans to stop doing.
"Hypertension is a huge risk factor in strokes. Go to a doctor and make sure if you are hypertensive to address that, and try to get your blood pressure under control. It's the same thing with diabetes and obesity," Dr. Lucas said.
A history of atrial fibrillation in older people, if left untreated, is also a risk factor.
So what do you look for in terms of signs?
"It can be something as subtle as seeing a curtain shade closing in your visual field in one eye, to weakness on one side of your face, to weakness of an entire arm or leg or one side of the body," Dr. Lucas said.
It's important for people to know their numbers, such as cholesterol and blood pressure, and to get regular checkups to evaluate the risk for stroke. Evans said she's glad she did.
"I feel like, in the end, Dr. Lucas saved my life," she said.
View Dr. Lucas’ interview regarding stroke risk.
Founded in 1874 in downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed acute care university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a top Maryland hospital by U.S. News & World Report; a Top 100 hospital for Women’s Health & Orthopedics by Healthgrades; is currently A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Group), and is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet Hospital. Mercy Medical Center is part of Mercy Health Services (MHS), the parent of Mercy’s primary care and specialty care physician enterprise, known as Mercy Personal Physicians, which employs more than 200 providers with locations in Baltimore, Lutherville, Overlea, Glen Burnie, Columbia and Reisterstown. For more information about Mercy, visit www.mdmercy.com, MDMercyMedia on Facebook, Twitter, or call 1-800-MD-Mercy.
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