Stroke Care - Our Primary Concern

It's never too early to start healthy lifestyle habits that can lessen or eliminate the chance of a serious disease or illness, such as stroke.  Eating a healthy diet, exercising, stopping tobacco use/smoking, and keeping an eye on that blood pressure are always a good ideas in the quest for a healthier, better you.  Especially since stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, killing about 130,000 people each year and a leading cause of serious, long-term adult disability.

But a stroke can happen at any time, regardless of age, race or sex, so recognizing the signs and symptoms can save lives and limit disabilities. 

So, act FAST to get medical attention by knowing common signs and symptoms including:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause.

What to do?   Use the "FAST" test:
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?
S - Speech.       Ask the person to repeat a single sentence.  Is the speech slurred?
T - Time.           Call 9-1-1 if you observe these signs.  Time is brain.


Did You Know? ... The three hospitals of Excela Health - Frick, Latrobe and Westmoreland - have been designated as Primary Stroke Centers by The Joint Commission and recognized by the Pennsylvania Department of Health for exceeding national standards for quality patient care. To earn accreditation as a Primary Stroke Center, Excela Health hospitals have demonstrated proficiency in the prevention and early management of stroke and transient ischemic attack (TIA) symptoms based on guidelines established by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association for health care professionals.

 

Know Your Stroke Risk Factors to Protect Yourself
While some risk factors, such as age and family history, are out of our control, we can take charge of others through healthy lifestyle changes. To help prevent stroke:

Maintain a healthy weight                  Limit alcohol
Exercise                                                 Control blood pressure
Eat a healthy diet                                 Treat atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat)
Quit smoking                                        Treat diabetes

Risk factors include:
-  Age
-  Gender
-  Race
-  Family history of stroke

Controllable Risk Factors:
-  High blood pressure
-  Smoking
-  Heart disease
-  High cholesterol
-  Obesity
-  Physical inactivity

If you have a risk factor, it doesn't mean you will have a stroke.  But your risk grows if you develop further factors or the severity of them increases.  So, take control of your life by learning about the risk factors and, as always, talking with your doctor.