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Rue McClanahan suffers stroke after heart bypass surgery

Jenny Decker RN's picture

The Golden Girls’ Rue McClanahan recently suffered a stroke after having heart bypass surgery in November. The actress is currently recovering in a nursing facility after spending two weeks in an intensive care unit and some time in a rehabilitation center. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel is blocked off or a blood vessel bursts. This then causes part of the brain to begin to die because of the lack of oxygen, writes WebMD.

The actress from Golden Girls had a blood clot that blocked the flow of oxygen to the brain. Damage to that part of the brain begins within minutes. The actress had difficulty walking and talking after the stroke. mcClanahan’s husband of 12 years, Morrow Wilson told America’s Globe magazine that the 75 year old actress requires a lot of physical and speech therapy. “She can understand what you are saying in conversation, but still has some trouble speaking. Her speech is slower than it once was and she hasn’t completely recovered on the right side of her body.”

Paying attention to any signs and symptoms of a stroke are very important. Calling for immediate help gives a person the best chance for staying alive and recovering. Signs and symptoms of a stroke include any sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg and especially if it is only on one side of the body. Another symptom of a stroke is having new problems with walking or balance. Sudden vision changes, drooling or slurred speech are also symptoms. Other warning signs include new problems speaking or being confused. Finally, a sudden severe headache that is significantly different from other headaches indicates the need to call 911 for emergency help.

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Certain risk factors that place an individual at risk for having a stroke include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, obesity, and lack of exercise. The good news is that these risk factors can be modified. Taking care of blood pressure and high cholesterol significantly reduce your chance of suffering a stroke. Those with diabetes should check with their doctors to make sure that they are keeping blood sugars under control. If you smoke, quitting or even reducing the amount you smoke will reduce your risk factors for having a stroke. Other ways to modify chances of having a stroke include getting exercise, at the minimum 2 ½ hours a week, and staying at a healthy weight. Limiting alcohol intake also helps reduce risk of stroke.

A heart healthy diet reduces several of the risk factors. Diets that are high in fish, fresh fruits and vegetables, high fiber grains and breads, as well as olive oil with less salt are highly recommended. Taking aspirin or any other meds you may be given by your doctor helps reduce the chances that you will have a stroke.

If you do have any of the above symptoms, please call 911 or other emergency services as soon as possible. Even if you have symptoms and they only last a little while, this could be a warning sign that you will have a stroke. This should be brought to the attention of your doctor. Even though a person can make a good recovery from stroke, the best chances of doing so is getting help as soon as possible. Doctors have a limited time in which victims of stroke can be helped.

Rue McClanahan, before having her heart bypass and subsequently a stroke, was scheduled to appear at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco. This had to be canceled due to her health and need for surgery. She told her fans, “Darlings, I would much rather be with you there, you how Blanch Devereux loved a party with men.”



Love you Rue MaClanahan. You will always be a Golden Girl to all your fans. We love all the Golden Girls and best wishes to you!
Rue, you are in my thoughts and prayers. I love you in Golden Girls. The Hallmark channel in our area still shows it.