Not unlike a heart attack, a stroke can be thought of as a “brain attack,” occurring when a blood clot blocks an artery (ischemic stroke) or a blood vessel breaks (hemorrhagic stroke), interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain. When either of these things happens, brain cells begin to die and brain damage occurs.
May is National Stroke Awareness Month, the perfect time to remember that, in our nation, stroke is:
* The 3rd leading cause of death.
* The 2nd leading cause of nursing home admissions.
* The 1st leading cause of disability.
Many of those devastating numbers could be reversed with education.
Time saved is brain saved
Most strokes, up to 80 percent, are treatable if people recognize the symptoms and seek help immediately. For every minute of delay, 12 million brain cells die from lack of oxygen, resulting in paralysis, inability to speak or swallow, and even death. Prompt treatment can clear blocked arteries and restore the flow of oxygen and nutrients, saving brain function.
The F.A.S.T. way to remember symptoms
To determine if your symptoms indicate a stroke, think F.A.S.T.:
F=FACE Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A=ARM Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S=SPEECH Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is the speech slurred or strange?
T=TIME If you observe any of these signs, Phone 9-1-1 because ambulance staff can expedite treatment
Seek help immediately
If you experience any stroke symptoms, don’t wait. Phone 9-1-1 or get to your nearest emergency room.
The most promising treatment for ischemic stroke is tPA (tissue plasminogen activator), the FDA-approved clot-busting drug. It must be given within three hours of the onset of symptoms; it is administered intravenously by hospital personnel.
This limited window of opportunity makes it very important for people who think they’re having a stroke to seek help immediately. If given promptly, tPA can significantly reduce the effects of stroke and reduce permanent disability.
U of L robot, partnership advances stroke care
Western Baptist recently has partnered with University Hospital in Louisville to advance stroke care. Kerri Remmel, M.D., director of the stroke center at U of L, and other U of L neurologists have joined Western Baptist’s medical staff and can diagnose stroke with the help of a telemedicine robot. The high-tech device is part of U of L Health Care’s robot network, which connects Western Baptist patients and staff to the U of L specialists through a wireless Internet link for virtual face-to-face conversations without the time and expense of travel.
Chest Pain and Stroke Hotline
For help identifying signs and symptoms of stroke, phone our award-winning Chest Pain and Stroke Hotline at 1-800-575-1911 to speak with a registered nurse at Western Baptist.