Each year, about 700,000 Americans have a stroke, causing 1 death in every 15 stroke occurrences, and is the leading cause of disability. Promptly receiving a “clot busting” treatment, such as tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), is critical to minimizing brain damage. The American Stroke Association has released updated stroke guidelines, which emphasize the need to seek help immediately when stroke symptoms are present by calling 911 and going to a hospital with a “stroke center”.
St. Anthony’s Medical Center was the first community hospital in the region to earn the distinction as a nationally certified Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission. To be certified as a Primary Stroke Center, a hospital must clearly show that it has the expertise and technological resources to quickly diagnose and treat any type of stroke within one hour of arrival. For the best outcomes, most stroke patients must be treated within three hours after a stroke has occurred, and St. Anthony’s offers round-the-clock care from a specialized stroke Team.
Risk factors for a stroke include: being a man over age 45 or a woman over 55; if you are overweight; if your father or brother had a heart attack before age 55; or if your mother or sister had a heart attack before age 65; if you have had a stroke, have coronary heart disease, have had a heart attack, or have an abnormal heartbeat; if your blood pressure is 140/90 or higher; if you have diabetes; if your total cholesterol is over 200, or if your HDL is low–less than 40 for a man or under 50 for a woman; if you smoke or live or work with a smoker; if you don’t get at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week.
Stroke Warning Signs include: Sudden numbness, weakness or drooping of the face, especially on one side; sudden numbness or weakness of an arm or leg, especially on one side of the body; sudden confusion, trouble speaking, slurred speech, or you are hard to understand; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination; sudden, severe headache with no known cause.
A good way to remember the main signs of a stroke is by using the acronym F.A.S.T. :
T=time to call 911.
If you have any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately!
Access http://stanthonysmedcenter.com/neurology_stroke/stroke_facts for more information.