Stroke survivor tells her story

By Britney Glaser - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Strokes are the third leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of serious, long-term disability. In this Healthcast, read how one stroke survivor has transformed her life to keep this scary attack from happening again.

48-year-old Adeline Ryan's health today is a far cry from where it was two years ago.  "I was lazy, I got depressed," says Adeline, "I had a major loss in my life - my mother had passed away and I just kept eating and eating."

At her worst, Adeline weighed in at 270 pounds - and this extra weight contributed to her high blood pressure and diabetes. But one evening at dinner, this wife and mother of two told her husband she was ready for a health turnaround.  "I said 'It's my time. The kids are older, they can do for themselves, it's my turn to start taking care of myself.'"

So Adeline changed her diet and began walking. She felt like she was on the right track as the pounds dropped, but while doing the laundry one morning, her life instantly changed.  "My right arm went out and I thought I'll just shake that off, it's my carpel tunnel," says Adeline, "and then when my legs went from under me, I grabbed onto the washing machine and said, 'Oh no, this is a stroke.'"

Within an hour, Adeline was in the emergency room being treated for an ischemic stroke, caused by a blood clot in her brain.  Dr. Susan Ieyoub with Lake Charles Memorial Hospital's Internal Medicine Clinic says Adeline had three of the common risk factors for stroke.  "Risk factors for stroke are most commonly also for heart attacks as well and that's high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, being overweight, being sedentary."

Strokes account for one of every 17 deaths in the United States.  Dr. Ieyoub says the faster a person is treated, the better their chance for a successful recovery.  "If you get to the emergency room and get treatment within three hours," she says, "we have many more options of treating the stroke and hopefully providing a better recovery from that stroke if you get attention quickly and get the medication you need promptly."

After spending four days in the hospital and four weeks recovering, Adeline committed wholeheartedly to making her health a priority.  115 pounds lighter and 100 percent healthier, Adeline is hoping her story inspires other busy moms to make themselves number one.  "They've just got to watch what they eat and stay motivated," says Adeline, "move your body for a better body...that's all it takes."

The most common symptoms that a person will present with for a stroke are usually numbness, tingling or weakness in their extremities.

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