TV talk show host, Wendy Williams fainted on-camera yesterday during her live broadcast. She did not have a stroke. But it looked scary. And I think Wendy’s fainting spell is a teachable moment for people to learn about stroke since what she experienced appeared to be very similar to the symptoms of a stroke.
If you missed the show, this is what happened:
Roughly 48 minutes into the show Wendy Williams was dressed in costume as the Statue of Liberty and her speech started slowing down as she spoke to the audience and she stumbled before falling to the ground.
She described being overtaken by a “hot” and “dizzy” feeling, adding, “The costume got hot. Right before passing out, I felt like I was in the middle of a campfire.”
Since a lot people thought she suffered a stroke I think it’s important to clarify a few things about stroke:
What Is a Stroke?
In a stroke, one of the many blood vessels that supply your brain with oxygen becomes damaged or blocked. If the blood flow is cut off for more than 3 to 4 minutes, that part of your brain begins to die
There are two types of strokes:
Hemorrhagic strokes account for about 13 percent of stroke cases.
It results from a weakened vessel that ruptures and bleeds into the surrounding brain. The blood accumulates and compresses the surrounding brain tissue. The two types of hemorrhagic strokes are intracerebral (within the brain) hemorrhage or subarachnoid hemorrhage.
Ischemic strokes result from a blocked artery. Ischemic stroke can be divided into two main types: thrombotic and embolic. Deprived of oxygen and other nutrients, the brain suffers damage as a result of the stroke. A thrombotic stroke occurs when diseased or damaged cerebral arteries become blocked by the formation of a blood clot within the brain.
Ischemic Stroke Treatment is tissue plasminogen activator (tPA, also known as IV rtPA, given through an IV in the arm). tPA works by dissolving the clot and improving blood flow to the part of the brain being deprived of blood flow.
How an you tell if someone is having a stroke? These signs include:
Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
Sudden, severe headache with no known cause.
A great way to remember how to detect a stroke is to use the acronym, ‘FAST’. The acronym stands for Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulties and Time to call emergency services. Facial drooping: A section of the face, usually only on one side, that is drooping and hard to move.
Risk Factors for Stroke
Because of the potential for high blood glucose levels, diabetes itself is a risk factor for stroke. Yet, many people with stroke also have other conditions that put them even more at risk.
These risk factors include: • Being over age 55 • Being African-American • Already having had a stroke or heart disease • Having a family history of heart disease • Being overweight • Smoking
People who have diabetes are two to four times more likely to have a stroke than people who do not have diabetes. They also tend to develop heart disease or have strokes at an earlier age than people without diabetes
Diabetes can also make it harder for your body to respond to a stroke. When your oxygen supply is cut off, other arteries can usually serve as a bypass. But if you have diabetes, those vessels may be hardened or clogged with plaque, a condition known as atherosclerosis. This makes it harder for blood to get to your brain.
While multiple studies say diabetes puts you at risk of conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure, you can help keep your risk low. Talk to your healthcare professional about the connection between diabetes and stroke, recognize the risk factors and take steps to stay healthy.
For more information contact the National Stroke Association: 1 (800) 787-6537
To avoid any misunderstandings I’d like to reinstate once again that Wendy Williams did not have a stroke. And if you don’t believe me, then you should tune in to her show. She appeared on her show today and addressed online commenters who suggested she suffered a stroke or heart attack. “No, I had neither,” she said.
EMTs soon arrived backstage, where she was evaluated. “The paramedics are in my office and they hooked me up to every EKG situation,” she said. “I was low on hydrogen — you know, the water. Not just any water, electrolytes.” Her blood pressure and heart rate checked out fine, nor did she suffer any bumps, bruises or aches from her fall.