Simple, But So Often Overlooked, Advice: Listen to Your Body

Simple, But So Often Overlooked, Advice: Listen to Your Body

Atlantic NeuroSurgical Specialists (ANS) urges you to listen to your body. Don’t ignore your symptoms.

Today, an increasing number of Americans are doing just that – with potentially devastating results. It’s not uncommon to ignore a sudden, severe headache; dizziness; tingling; or loss of balance. These are just some of the symptoms – that when disregarded – can lead to significant medical problems.

To highlight this simple, but so often overlooked, advice, ANS doctors and their patient Ann Thompson, are speaking out.

Ann, an assistant nurse manager in a New Jersey hospital emergency room, listened to patients nearly every day for the past 40 years … but she didn’t listen to her own symptoms.

Generally healthy, Ann suddenly began experiencing what felt like a headache and a toothache. Then, when she was driving, she lost vision in her left eye for a few seconds. Several days later, the same thing happened. At work, she noticed flashing white lights in her eye. Ann meant to call the doctor, but didn’t.

Two days later, Ann felt tingling in her hand and began dropping things. She knew something was wrong, but refused to admit it.

“My brother insisted I go to the hospital,” Ann recalls. “There, a carotid ultrasound revealed 80% blockage of my left internal carotid artery.”

The carotid arteries are large blood vessels that supply blood to the front part of the brain.

Dr. Ronald Benitez and Dr. Pinakin Jethwa, neurosurgeons at ANS, and Physician Assistant Dean Barone explained I needed emergency surgery,” Ann continues. “Being a nurse, I understood everything they were explaining … but I was still scared. I will never forget how they talked with me until I was calm and gave me their cell phone numbers. That was going above and beyond.”

Ann’s surgery, which was done at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, lasted three hours.

“Ann had a severe blockage of her left carotid artery, which had caused a small stroke,” explains Dr. Jethwa. “The artery needed to be opened to prevent a major stroke, one that could potentially be life-threatening. Ann’s surgery went flawlessly.”

“Ann did amazing,” Dr. Benitez adds. “She was in the hospital for only two days. The only deficit she left with was a weak finger, which has fully recovered, and some peripheral vision lost, which has greatly improved.”

Today, Ann is back to her everyday life.

“I believe in keeping the faith and divine intervention,” she admits. “But most important, I now believe in the importance of taking care of yourself. We all live such busy lives but you need to listen to your body. You’re worth it.”

Stroke symptoms that should not be ignored include sudden[1]:

  • Numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body
  • Confusion or trouble speaking
  • Vision trouble
  • Difficulty walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Severe headache with no known cause

For more information, visit or call 732.455.8225.


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