It seems like every day on the news we are hearing about new possible symptoms of COVID-19. Last week health care providers announced that they are seeing sudden strokes in patients who are between the ages of 30-50, who are otherwise healthy adults, other than their COVID-19 diagnosis. Patients that had a stroke and were COVID positive had COVID symptoms that ranged from mild to asymptomatic. Healthcare providers are seeing that COVID-19 is causing large clots in large arteries causing these patients to have a stoke. These patients are arriving in the emergency room sometimes too late because they delayed coming to the hospital not wanting to face the over crowed current healthcare system. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the public has been avoiding hospitals in fear of contracting the virus, which is leaving many waiting too long at home with life-threatening symptoms.
Adults in their 30’s and 40’s are usually not aware of the signs and symptoms of a stroke. FAST is the acronym that medical professionals use. It stands for the following:
F – Face drooping. If it looks like someone’s face is drooping, ask them to smile to see if one side is drooping.
A – Arm weakness. Ask a person to raise both arms.
S – Speech Difficulty. A person may have trouble speaking to you.
T – Time to call 911!!
It is important to pay attention to stroke symptoms noted in the acronym FAST. Additional symptoms can include:
- Vision problems.
- Trouble walking or lack of coordination.
- Severe headache without a known cause.
It is also important to note that men and women demonstrate different symptoms that can be written off as nothing. Women may also experience disorientation, confusion, memory problems, nausea or vomiting.
Laura Kendrick is a Radiation Therapist at Penn Medicine in the department of Radiation Oncology for 9 years. She completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Radiation Therapy from Gwynedd-Mercy University and her Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration from St. Joseph’s University. Laura has extensive experience in proton therapy, training of radiation therapist’s both domestic and internationally and has created multiple proton training videos for different vendors. Laura has been with Oncolink since 2017, but joined part-time in 2020 as Global Education Coordinator and is currently developing virtual reality training modules to train radiation therapist around the world.