Docs on Call Follow-up

On Monday, May 2, 2011 on WEEK-TV aired our program on Stroke. During the 30 minute program physicians from the Illinois Neurological Institute (INI) answered questions that were called in from a live viewing audience. Questions that could not be answered in the allotted time are posted below with the physicians response.

View the program that aired on WEEK-TV

For more information on stroke please visit our Stroke Center on this website.

Answers from Dr. Deepak Nair:

Debbie: Husband had stroke symptoms twice last year and went to the hospital. Brain imaging did not show a stroke. It was diagnosed as a complex migraine. If he has left sided numbness of the face and arm again should he go to the hospital again? Is this a risk of stroke?

If the symptoms are the same every time he has an episode, then he doesn’t need to go to the hospital.  However, if there is any significant difference (it’s a different side, or it’s not associated with a headache, or there are new symptoms), then he should seek medical attention immediately.  Some rare types of Migraine have been associated with stroke, but it’s not a clear link.


Bob: Had a stroke in 1990 and again in 2000. What are his odds of having another stroke?

His risk for stroke is higher than someone who’s never had a stroke.  However, if he is taking steps to control his risk factors (stop smoking, control diabetes/blood pressure/cholesterol) and is taking aspirin/Plavix/etc (unless he had a brain bleed…then he should avoid blood thinners), he can minimize that risk.


Kathy: Suffered strokes last February and August and now has seizures. Are these connected?

It certainly can be.  Stroke is a common cause of seizures, both immediately after the stroke or as a late effect.  The important thing is to accurately diagnose the seizure (and the seizure type) in order to treat it appropriately.


Raymond: Has left side weakness – is this a stroke?

The diagnosis of stroke usually depends on the clinical history, the physical examination, and brain imaging.  Weakness is a common symptom of stroke, but many other things can also cause weakness.  Without knowing more, it would be impossible to give an accurate diagnosis.  He should talk to his physician or see a neurologist.


Jean: What are the signs/symptoms of a stroke?

Drooping face, weakness or numbness of one side of the body, slurred speech, inability to speak or understand speech/language, double vision, inability to see to one side, trouble with walking or balance.


Mike: Diabetic 55-year-old man. 8 weeks ago had a mini-stroke. Has blockages on both sides of his neck. The angiogram revealed not enough blockage for stents, but he still has numbness and tingling on left side of lips and left thumb and index finger. What might be causing this?

This could be related to the “mini-stroke” as some stroke symptoms can linger on long-term.  However, this may also be related to the Diabetes, which can cause injury to the peripheral nerves.  Diabetes is one of the most common causes of neuropathy.  He should talk with his neurologist or family doctor to find out more.


Dwayne: I’m having frequent lightheadedness and tingling in my left arm. What kind of test should be done to see if this is stroke related?

No one test can answer that question.  He needs to talk with his family doctor or see a neurologist to be evaluated first.  Then they can come up with a diagnostic plan.


Jean: Husband had 2 strokes, one in January and one in December 2009. Hasn’t had any since then. If he goes a certain period of time without another stroke do his chances get better he won’t have another stroke?

His risk for stroke is higher than someone who’s never had a stroke.  However, if he is taking steps to control his risk factors (stop smoking, control diabetes/blood pressure/cholesterol) and is taking aspirin/Plavix/etc (unless he had a brain bleed…then he should avoid blood thinners), he can minimize that risk.


Judith: I lose my balance and have a “swimming” feeling in my head. What is this?

Balance problems can be caused by stroke, but many other things can also cause balance problems.  The only way to find out what her specific problem is would be to talk with her family doctor and/or see a neurologist to be fully evaluated.


Karen: Had an intracerebral hemorrhage in 2009 – is this a stroke? What are the chances this could happen again?

Yes, ICH is a type of stroke; up to 20% of strokes are Hemorrhagic strokes.  Her stroke risk is higher than someone who’s never had a stroke, but she can limit that risk by controlling her stroke risk factors.  Good blood pressure control is the most important way to prevent hemorrhagic stroke, but avoiding alcohol/drugs and blood thinners can also help.