Golden Girl Gone

Golden Girl Rue McClanahan, 76, died today after suffering a stroke. Her manager, Barbara Lawrence told People magazine: “She passed away at 1 a.m. this morning. She had a massive stroke.”  In November 2009, McClanahan had undergone bypass surgery. It was reported that she had had a mild stroke while recuperating from this surgery.  Fellow Golden Girl co-star Betty White released a statement saying:

“Rue was a close and dear friend. I treasure our relationship… It hurts more than I ever thought it would, if that’s even possible.”

When people refer to a “massive stroke,” this usually refers to an episode where the blood flow to the brain is severely interrupted. This happens either because of a blocked or ruptured blood vessel. When the brain does not receive the blood and oxygen it needs, cells are destroyed. When a massive stroke occurs, the effects can be devastating; paralysis on one side of the body, inability to talk, or coma. Death can occur if bleeding occurs in a part of brain associated with vital functions such as breathing or control of heart rate or blood pressure.

We’ve touched upon several issues relating to strokes in the following articles:

Garrison Keillor Hospitalized with Minor Stroke – warning signs of stroke

Charlie Daniels Suffers Mild Stroke– use of TPA to treat strokes

Bret Michaels in Intensive Care Unit with Brain Hemorrhage- Hemorrhagic stroke, subarachnoid hemorrhage

Beau Biden Hospitalized with Mild Stroke– Stroke in younger individuals, Modifiable risk factors for stroke


Left: An ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel supplying the brain becomes blocked, as by a clot.
Right: A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel bursts, leaking blood into the brain.

It never hurts to remind us all what the symptoms of a stroke are, as time is of the essence when it comes to survival and recovery!

Symptoms of a Stroke

If you see or have one or more of these symptoms, don’t wait, call 911 immediately!
  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause
Treatment can be more effective if given quickly. Every minute counts!

For more information:

Cerebrovascular Disease
Mark Boguski, M.D., Ph.D. is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and is a member of the Society for Participatory Medicine, "a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their health" and in which professional health care providers encourage "empowered patients" and value them as full partners in managing their health and wellness.

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