New Technology Can Diagnose Heatstroke, Stroke

healthcare technology

Medicare offers health insurance coverage for various aspects of care when an individual has a stroke. Obviously, the earlier one is diagnosed with the symptoms the better.

The CHRONIC Care Act of 2017, recently passed by the Senate Finance Committee, features a section that aims to make diagnosis more efficient for patients who live in rural areas: telehealth medicine. Telehealth is simply a means of treating patients remotely using telecommunications technologies. As Dr. Lee Schwamm of Harvard Medical School, who also represents the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, noted in his testimony before the Senate Finance Committee, “Medicare and Medicaid programs could save as much as $1.2 billion over 10 years, even after the costs of providing more telestroke evaluations.”

Basically, treating a stroke as soon as possible after its onset not only helps the patient get better sooner but it also cuts down on costs for the provider. In addition, avoiding misdiagnoses saves money, time, and resources for other healthcare emergencies. With that in mind, let’s review some details about strokes (and heatstrokes), what their symptoms are, and how to act if you or a loved one experiences one. After all, 80% of strokes are preventable.

What is a Stroke or Heatstroke?

Heatstroke occurs when core body temperature rises more than 104°F.

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts.

The disruption of blood and oxygen to the brain causes brain cells to die.

What are the Causes of a Stroke?

Some people may be at higher risk due to:

Some risks factors that can be treated or controlled include:

Some risk factors that can’t be changed include:

  • Age
  • Family history
  • Race
  • Gender
  • Medical history

What are the Signs of a Stroke?

The main sign of heatstroke is a high body temperature of 104°F. Other signs include:

  • Muscle cramps or weakness
  • Strong and rapid pulse
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Confusion and/or unconsciousness
  • Headache
  • Flushed/red skin
  • Hot and dry skin (if not exercising)

Signs of a stroke can be best remembered with the acronym F.A.S.T:

  • Face drooping
  • Arm weakness
  • Speech difficulty
  • Time to Call 911

*Additional signs of stoke include sudden trouble seeing, dizziness, confusion, severe headache, or weakness on one side of the body.

What to Do When a Stroke Begins

Call 9-1-1 or your local emergency services number immediately

  • While waiting for emergency care (if having a heatstroke), try to cool the person by moving him or her to a shaded area and by using ice packs, cold wet towels, and/or a fan.
  • Stroke patients who arrive at the hospital by ambulance have a greater chance of living through a stroke, and a greater chance of preserving independence and having a full recovery.

 Sources: American Stroke Association, Mayo Clinic, American Heart Association

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