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Dr. Ahsan Sattar, Director of Neuroendovascular Surgery at Mountainside Medical Center, has been noting a decrease in the average age of his stroke patients. He mainly attributes this to modern American lifestyle habits including poor diet, obesity, lack of exercise and smoking. With the recent news surrounding the death of 52-year-old actor Luke Perry following a massive stroke, Dr. Sattar was asked if the actor was too young to suffer a stroke. Dr. Sattar quickly responded, “Absolutely not.” Within the past year, Dr. Sattar treated a 17-year- old with medical stroke therapy, and a 25-year-old with surgical stroke intervention.

Early recognition of stroke symptoms is key and Dr. Sattar would like our community to learn an important stroke pneumonic; “F-A-S-T.” The “F” represents “face” for any changes in facial symmetry. The “A” stands for “arm” weakness. The “S” is for “speech” (any abnormalities such as slurred speech, inability to speak or failure to understand). The “T” stands for “time,” which is the most important. Dr. Sattar always tells patients that time is brain. Since we lose approximately two million neurons per minute during a stroke due to inadequate blood supply, it’s crucial that stroke patients get to the nearest hospital as soon as possible.

It is even more important that patients are transported to the correct hospital to appropriately treat their stroke, such as a thrombectomy capable center like Mountainside Medical Center. Mountainside offers an FDA-approved, minimally invasive procedure called Mechanical Thrombectomy for acute strokes, where the problematic blood clot can be removed up to 24 hours.

Dr. Sattar has one important take away for the community following Mr. Perry’s death. Younger patients often have a false sense of security thinking, “I’m young, and therefore I am safe.” He emphasizes that this is false. Dr. Sattar strongly advises that everyone practice healthy lifestyle habits like eating a well-balanced diet, getting routine exercise, eliminating tobacco use and following up annually with your primary care physician.


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