After years of rigorous medical training, touching thousands of lives, and working in the Operating Room as an anesthesiologist, on November 4th, 2016, Dr. Deena Liles’ own life was in the hands of her fellow doctors. Deena started her day like any other. She awoke at 5:00 in the morning, dressed in her scrubs, and made sure her family was taken care of before leaving for work. Daily, she headed to a San Antonio hospital operating room where highly skilled surgeons work on some of the most complex cases. On this Friday afternoon, while in the OR, Deena began to experience a sudden and
severe headache which progressed to loss of control of the left side of her body and ultimately loss of consciousness.
Deena experienced what over 800,000 individuals in the USA experience every year… a stroke. Although there are many types of strokes, a stroke typically disrupts the blood flow to the brain causing injury to the brain and possible death.
As her family, friends and colleagues stood vigil over her each and every day, questions were asked. “How did this happen? What caused this? Did she have high-blood pressure?” As everyone began to realize how their world would forever change, the question that continued to haunt everybody was “How could this have happened?” Deena is one of the most intelligent, compassionate, loving, friendly, and loyal individuals anybody could have the privilege to know. Could this have been prevented? Did her compassion and desire for taking care of her family before herself inadvertently place her at a higher risk? Did she ignore warning signs?
Each year, 55,000 more women experience strokes than men with strokes being the third leading cause of death in women.
In addition to the general risk factors like family history, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, lack of exercise, and being overweight, women are faced with unique risk factors which include:
Taking birth control pills. The greatest concern about using oral contraceptives is for women with additional risk factors, such as age, cigarette smoking, high blood pressure or diabetes.
Being pregnant. Stroke risk increases during a normal pregnancy due to natural changes in the body such as increased blood pressure and stress on the heart.
Using Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). A combined hormone therapy of progestin and estrogen, to relieve menopausal symptoms.
Suffering from migraine headaches with aura. Migraines can increase a woman's stroke risk two and a half times and most people in the U.S. who suffer migraines are women.
Ways to reduce the odds of having a stroke:
Learn about healthy lifestyle changes and if necessary, medications you can take to lower your stroke risk.
Schedule your annual wellness exam with your Primary Care Physician -
Tips, schedule it at the beginning of the year during the month of your birthday.
Wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends: encourage and hold your loved ones accountable for getting their annual wellness exam by their Primary Care Physician. During these visits, health symptoms that place us at a higher risk for strokes can be identified and managed.
Deena spent over a month in the Neuro ICU on a ventilator, two months at a Long-Term Acute Care Hospital under the neurological care of GRMG's own Dr. Colin Sanner, and now continues her rehabilitation with the highly skilled and compassionate doctors and therapists working tirelessly to re-establish and restore communication and functional use of her arms and legs.
Deena is a wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend who would selflessly give to others before herself. Advocate for Health and Wellness. Encourage and Educate Wellness Exams. Promote Prevention. Live Long and Healthy. GET YOUR ANNUAL CHECK-UPS.