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Kris Letang’s mysterious illness? A stroke

Stashed in: Hockey, Brain, Stroke

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Stroke can hit even very young, fit people. This article explains how it can happen and why it might be hard to diagnose.

Today I learned: How do you know you’ve had a stroke?

Strokes often present with obvious symptoms like slurred speech, weakness on one side of the body, or facial droop. Sometimes it can be as subtle as numbness in a hand, a vision problem, or balance issues. The workup for an obvious stroke or more subtle neurologic problems often starts out the same, which is how Letang’s issue was diagnosed. You start with a CT scan to look for bleeding in the brain, and a crapload of bloodwork to rule out other causes (thyroid, infection, anemia, being drunk as hell). Sometimes strokes show up on a CT scan, and sometimes they don’t. MRI is next, and can detect old and new strokes. It’s actually not unusual to find an old stroke a patient never knew they’d had on a scan.

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