|An analysis of prodromal symptoms leading to a stroke from a pathographic perspective
|Pang, Samantha (SN)
|Cerebrovascular disease -- Patients.
Cerebrovascular disease -- Diagnosis.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
|Faculty of Health and Social Sciences
|vi, 229 pages : illustrations
|Introduction: Patients with symptoms of stroke are urged to seek prompt medical attention to ensure optimal clinical outcomes. It is argued that delay in presentation may be reduced further if patients can act upon the early symptoms of stroke that precedes the classical warning signs. Aims: This study sought to elucidate the cluster of symptoms leading to a stroke as experienced by the patients. Methods: Fifty-two stroke survivors' autobiographical narratives were identified and reviewed. Qualitative content analysis was conducted on their first handed near-stroke experience. Results: Forty-one pathographers mentioned some prodromal symptoms prior to their stroke. These prodromal symptoms included headache, dizziness, fatigue, visual symptoms, speech difficulties, sensory impairment, cognitive impairment, and motor function impairment. The duration of stroke prodromal symptoms might take hours, days, weeks, months, or even years. When an unusal symptom was first experienced, one tended to find a reason to explain and normalize the symptom. A wait-and-see approach might be adopted in the hope that the symptom would soon pass. Symptoms might be communicated to family and friends for physical, emotional, or spiritual support. Self-remdies including over-the-counter medications might be used to alleviate the symptoms. A process of denial might come into play, especially for those who felt that they were too young, too healthy, free of risk factors, or not wanting to look stupid. Inherent with a need to know the extent of impairment, some pathographers performed tests on themselves. Instead of feeling panic, many patients felt calm at this juncture. Some felt that death was imminent and prayed or asked God for help. Possession of stroke knowledge and making a correct judgment to summon immediate medical assistance ensure a prompt response. On the other hand, a lack of knowledge on stroke, misdiagnosed by the physician, or inefficiencies caused by the healthcare system resulted in delay. Conclusions: Prodromal symptoms of stroke should be further studied. Primary preventive measures should expand to include the common, yet non-specific, prodromal symptoms of stroke to call for earlier medical attention. Detailed examination should be performed by healthcare professionals and indicated preventive measures should be exercised aggressively by all individuals with prodromal symptoms of stroke without delay to reduce the possibility of a full-fledged stroke.
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