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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. 

Because stroke is and emergency, know the signs and symptoms so you can BE 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 "BE FAST" test:
B - Balance    Sudden loss of balance
E - Eye             Sudden vision change
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.

The Golden Hour: Act in Time Act Fast To Save a Life!

The Golden Hour message is simple: If someone is experiencing symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, CALL 9-1-1 and get to a hospital within one hour. Acting in time – within the first Golden Hour after symptoms begin – greatly reduces the risk of damage to the heart or brain and greatly improves the chance of recovery.

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. Did you also know that these three Excela Health facilities are the ONLY ones in Westmoreland County to have earned this designation?  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.

Excela Health System is once again among a select group of healthcare organizations nationwide to be recognized for delivering the highest quality in stroke care. The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA) has recognized both Excela Westmoreland and Latrobe Hospitals with  the Get With The Guidelines®- Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award and Excela Health Frick Hospital with its Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award.  These awards recognize the hospitals’ commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.       

Recognized Stroke Centers in Pennsylvania 

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.

Life after stroke can be difficult. Getting you healthy and getting you home, equipped with the skills you need to deal with your daily life safely and efficiently: that’s what we aim for at EPICRehab, the Excela Physical Improvement Center. 

Join us for education, resources, and support through our Stroke Support Group. Click here for details.

Stroke survivors and loved ones welcome.

For Stroke Patient and Caregiver Resources, click here.

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