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Stroke

Unknown stroke

03/24/2006

Question:

MY DAD WAS PUT ON B/P MEDS IN NOV, AND HE HAS NOT HAVE HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE. XMAS NIGHT I THOUGHT HE WAS HAVING A STROKE, 911 WAS CALLED. SODIUM LEVEL WAS REAL LOW,PVC`S, NO TEMP, SLOW TO RESPOND, B/P HIGHT. CT SCAN REVIEW A LARGE AREA OF DARKNESS, DR TOLD ME IT WAS AN OLD STROKE, BUT AT FIRST THEY THOUGHT IT COULD BE A TUMOR. TO OUR KNOWLEDGE MY DAD NEVER HAD A STROKE OR HEART CONDITION. HE WAS IN HOSPITAL FOR 4 DAYS. EVER SINCE THIS OCCURRED, HE IS LOSING WEIGHT ( HAS PROSTATE CA 4YRS) WAS TAKING HORMONE SHOTS, CA LEVELS ARE PERFECT SO HORMONE WAS STOPPED. HE DRAWN OUT LOOKING, REAL FRAILE LOOKING, SLOW THINKING. I DONT KNOW HOW HE COULD FAIL SO MUCH IN 3 MONTHS. ACCORDING TO HIS DR,,ALL HIS TEST ARE FINE, AND ECHOCARDIOGRAM IS FINE. I DONT UNDERSTAND THE WEIGHT LOSS AND THE MEMEORY SLIPPING.

Answer:

Here are some thoughts.  First, I cannot make a diagnosis via the web, especially because it sounds like this your father has not been easy for his physicians to figure out.  To have these symptoms properly diagnosed, you will need to continue to work with his doctors, who know his entire medical history and can perform physical examinations.

Here is some background information that may be helpful:  a stroke typically results in a specific neurologic problem.  Strokes can cause cognitive decline, but usually there are other clinical symptoms also.  MRI scanning can be very helpful to rule out other problems such as tumors in the brain, but you must realize that it is not a perfect test and does not always provide a definitive answer.  There are certainly many medical problems that can lead to weight loss, but when weight loss and slow thinking are combined, it is prudent to consider depression also.  If it were depression, that would be optimal because medical therapy would be likely to help.

 

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Response by:

Brett   Kissela, MD Brett Kissela, MD
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Director, Neurology Residency Program
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati