Every Second Counts
If you or someone near you is having a stroke, it is important to get immediate medical attention. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and a leading cause of long-term disability in the United States. Though stroke can lead to permanent brain damage, disability, and even death, the good news is that an estimated 80 percent of stroke cases can be prevented by reducing personal risk factors. To learn more about stroke risk, check out the following facts, and learn how to act F.A.S.T. to seek life-saving treatment at the first signs and symptoms of stroke.
Every minute counts for stroke victims! Two million brain cells die every minute during a stroke. Because of this, the American Stroke Association recommends acting F.A.S.T in the event of a stroke.
- (F)ace Drooping. Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person's smile uneven?
- (A)rm Weakness. Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- (S)peech Difficulty. Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like "The sky is blue." Is the sentence repeated correctly?
- (T)ime to Call 911. If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you'll know when the first symptoms appeared.
What is a stroke?
A stroke happens when a blood vessel is either blocked or bursts in the brain. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the oxygen it needs and brain cells start to die after a few minutes. There are two major types of strokes, "ischemic strokes" and "hemorrhagic strokes".
Ischemic strokes are caused by a blockage of blood flow to an area of your brain, resulting in brain cell death. A TIA (transient ischemic attack), often referred to as a "mini-stroke", is what happens when blood flow is blocked to an area of your brain for only a short period of time and is then restored, which does not result in any permanent damage. The stroke symptoms of a TIA may go away fairly quickly, but don't let that fool you, you still need to seek immediate medical attention.
Hemorrhagic strokes are caused by a bleeding in the brain. This can be caused by high blood pressure or abnormal blood vessels. Trauma to the head can also result in bleeding in the brain and stroke symptoms. If this happens to you- seek medical attention immediately.
Symptoms of a stroke:
- Sudden weakness
- Sudden paralysis or numbness of the face, arms or legs
- Sudden difficulty with speaking or understanding speech
- Sudden difficulty with seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden headache, dizziness and difficulty with walking
Risk factors of a stroke can be controllable (factors in which a person can change), or uncontrollable (factors in which cannot be changed, even with proper treatment). Talk with your doctor to discuss your personal stroke risk factors and what you can do to prevent a stroke
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Being overweight or obese and physical inactivity
- Cigarette smoking or secondhand smoke
- Heavy or binge drinking
- Personal or family history of stroke or Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
Living a healthy lifestyle is important to reduce your risk of having a stroke. Healthy habits should include:
- Healthy Diet
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Quitting smoking
- Limiting alcohol consumption
Our Primary Stroke Center is Here for You
UnityPoint Health - Methodist is a certified Primary Stroke Center with the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) and provides comprehensive services from the emergency room to rehabilitation to diagnose and treat patients who suffer from a stroke. The professional stroke team--a board-certified stroke neurologist, registered nurse, physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, and dietitian--provide coordinated care and treatment throughout the patient's hospitalization. Neurosurgeons are available 24 hours a day.
UnityPoint Health - Methodist also supports the Central Illinois Stroke Support Group, a free service for anyone who has had a stroke or has been affected by a stroke. Each session provides a forum for you to share experiences, express concerns and ask questions.