Could Your Smartphone Be The Key To Avoiding Permanent Stroke Damage?

If you've occasionally found yourself wondering how you'd be able to seek medical treatment if you were suddenly and unexpectedly debilitated by a blood clot or hemorrhage in your brain, you may be right to worry--stroke is the third-highest cause of death in the U.S. and constitutes the number one cause of long-term disability. However, advances in technology have made it easier than ever for doctors to evaluate stroke patients and provide emergency treatment, often without being in the same room or even the same country. Read on to learn more about telemedicine and how this technological advance could forever change the way strokes are diagnosed and treated.

What is telemedicine?

Telemedicine is a general term intended to encompass remote physician diagnosis and treatment. Through telemedicine, a doctor can speak face-to-face with a patient (either through the front-facing camera on a cell phone or through a web camera) to evaluate physical symptoms and recommend a course of treatment. 

Telemedicine can be far more effective than doctor-patient attempts to communicate over the phone; instead of having the patient verbally describe his or her symptoms, the doctor can actually see them (and their impact). If the doctor suspects the patient is dealing with a more serious medical condition, he or she can immediately make the call to have an ambulance dispatched so the patient can receive emergency care. 

How is telemedicine used in the context of strokes?

Strokes are a frightening medical condition due to the speed of onset and severity. Unlike more chronic conditions like cancer or congestive heart failure, which can take years to reach the point where they begin to impact your quality of life, strokes can cause nearly instantaneous (and often irreversible) damage to your brain. And although strokes are more common in the elderly, they can strike at any age--and, in many cases, they can afflict those who are otherwise the picture of health. 

Prompt diagnosis and treatment can be the key to minimizing the damaging effects of stroke, which makes telemedicine incredibly important. If you're able to get "on camera" with your doctor as soon as you begin experiencing symptoms, he or she can perform an initial evaluation and let you know the best course of action. In some cases, a doctor's quick-thinking instructions have been able to help patients avoid permanent stroke damage by taking a baby aspirin or immediately heading to the emergency room. 

If you or a loved one has any risk factors for stroke, you may want to consider bringing up telemedicine during your next doctor's appointment to see whether this could be a good option for you. 

Contact medical clinics that have Telespecialists for more information and assistance.