Mercy Vascular Surgeon Dr. Paul Lucas Discusses Stroke Risk In Women

May 19, 2014
Dr. Paul Lucas - Vascular Center at Mercy

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.

Dan Collins - Senior Director of Media Relations at Mercy Medical Center

Dan Collins, Senior Director of Media Relations

Email: Office: 410-332-9714 Cell: 410-375-7342

About Mercy

Founded in 1874, Mercy Medical Center is a university-affiliated medical facility named one of the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. by Thomson-Reuters with a national reputation for women’s health. Mercy is home to the nationally acclaimed Weinberg Center for Women’s Health and Medicine as well as the $400+ million, 20-story Mary Catherine Bunting Center. For more information visit Mercy online at, Facebook, Twitter or call 1-800-MD-MERCY.

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