Stroke? Think F-A-S-T

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Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of their face droop

Arm: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

Speech: Ask the person to say, "The sky is blue." Does their speech sound slurred or strange?

Time: Time is IMPORTANT. Stroke is an EMERGENCY!

TOP 5 SYMPTOMS OF A STROKE

1. Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg (especially on one side of the body)

2. Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech

3. Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes

4. Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination

5. Sudden severe headache with no known cause

If you experience any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately. 

On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds, dies of stroke every four minutes and 795,000 people will suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year in the U.S.

Source: www.st-joseph.org/strokecare        

What is a stroke?

A stroke is what happens when blood flow to the brain is interrupted. Brain cells in the immediate area begin to die because of a lack of oxygen. The two most common types of strokes are ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke.

The more common ischemic stroke is caused by blockage in a blood vessel leading to the brain, either fatty deposits from the walls of arteries or blood clots that travel to brain.

A hemorrhagic stroke is when a blood vessel in the brain bursts destroying the brain tissue around it. Hemorrhagic stokes are more common in patients with high blood pressure or an aneurysm, a weakness in the wall of a blood vessel.

Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of their face droop

Arm: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

Speech: Ask the person to say, “The sky is blue.” Does their speech sound slurred or strange?

Time: Time is IMPORTANT. Stroke is an EMERGENCY!

TOP 5 SYMPTOMS OF A STROKE

1. Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg (especially on one side of the body)

2. Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech

3. Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes

4. Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination

5. Sudden severe headache with no known cause

If you experience any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately. 

On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds, dies of stroke every four minutes and 795,000 people will suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year in the U.S.

Source: www.st-joseph.org/strokecare        

What is a stroke?

A stroke is what happens when blood flow to the brain is interrupted. Brain cells in the immediate area begin to die because of a lack of oxygen. The two most common types of strokes are ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke.

The more common ischemic stroke is caused by blockage in a blood vessel leading to the brain, either fatty deposits from the walls of arteries or blood clots that travel to brain.

A hemorrhagic stroke is when a blood vessel in the brain bursts destroying the brain tissue around it. Hemorrhagic stokes are more common in patients with high blood pressure or an aneurysm, a weakness in the wall of a blood vessel.

With Stroke, Time Kills

Unlike on the highway where speed kills, with a stroke, speed is the key to life and recovery. The greatest damage from a stroke often occurs within the first few hours. The faster correct treatment is given the greater chance the damage can be prevented or reversed.

Dr. Bradley White is co-medical director of St. Joseph’s Stroke Program and the only neuro-interventionalist in the area. St. Joseph is the only Primary Stroke Center in the region, as designated by the Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. In 2011, St. Joseph received the American Stroke Association’s (ASA) Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award in recognition of implementing excellent care for stoke patients according to evidence-based guidelines.

Dr. White explains that the gold standard for stroke treatment includes two options: “clot-busting” medication such as tPA, and Mechanical Thrombectomy, the mechanical removal of a stroke-causing clot.

When tPA (tissue Plasminogen Activator) is delivered into a blood vessel, the goal is to dissolve the clot and halt the stroke by restoring blood flow to the brain. This and other drug treatments must be given at the hospital within three hours of the onset of stroke symptoms.

With Mechanical Thrombectomy, patients are taken to the cath lab at St. Joseph where Dr. White can perform the Merci device procedure physically going inside the brain to mechanically remove the clot and restore blood flow.              

While these treatments can be miraculous in reducing the effects of a stroke, it takes recognizing the symptoms of a stroke, calling 9-1-1, and getting to the hospital immediately to make these effective treatments possible.

Know Your Stroke Risk Factors

While anyone can have a stroke there are risk factors that increase the chance it will happen to you. According to Dr. White, “The top risk factors for stroke include smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes and an abnormal heart rhythm.” Rather than worry, Dr. White offers this as a stroke prevention goal: 80% of strokes are preventable if the associated risk factors are reduced.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will almost completely eliminate your chance of having a stroke. Registered Nurse Amy Plotts is coordinator of the Stroke/Chest Pain Services for St. Joseph and says the answer to lowering your risk of stroke is to get healthy: “Stop smoking; see a doctor about your blood pressure and cholesterol; be sure to follow your medication correctly; and get active!”