Approximately 795,000 Americans suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In fact, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds, making stroke a leading cause of adult disability, as well as the third-leading cause of death nationwide.
According to experts, a stroke should be treated with the same urgency as a heart attack. Every second is critical to patient care, survival and subsequent quality of life.
Act F.A.S.T - Every Second counts
Learn the many warning signs of a stroke. Act FAST and CALL 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY at any sign of a stroke.
F=FACE: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A=ARMS: Ask the person to hold up both arms. Does one drift downward?
S=SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “Do you know what time it is?” Are the words slurred? Does the person repeat the phrase correctly?
T=TIME: If the person shows any of these symptoms, time is important. Call 9-1-1 immediately.
What is stroke?
Stroke — sometimes called brain attack — occurs when there is an interruption in the flow of blood to cells in the brain. Deprived of oxygen from the blood, the cells die. A stroke occurs when: 1) a blockage in an artery prevents blood from reaching cells in the brain, or 2) an artery ruptures inside the brain, causing bleeding.
There are two kinds of strokes:
- Ischemic strokes are the most common. They occur when an artery is blocked and blood flow to the brain is stopped. Caused by build-ups of fatty deposits on the inside of an artery wall which then becomes completely clogged. Ischemic strokes account for eighty percent of all strokes suffered. Some ischemic strokes are preceded by stroke-like symptoms called transient ischemic attacks (TIAs). These may occur months before the stroke. The loss of vision in a TIA may be described as a feeling that a shade is being pulled down over your eyes. The symptoms are usually temporary and improve within 10 to 20 minutes.
- Hemorrhagic strokes occur when an artery inside the brain ruptures or when an aneurysm at the base of the brain bursts. Twenty percent of all strokes suffered are hemorrhagic strokes. Symptoms more specific to this type of stroke include headache, nausea and vomiting, neck stiffness, seizures, sudden changes in mental state and lethargy. Hemorrhagic strokes usually occur in the daytime and during physical activity. The symptoms typically begin very suddenly and evolve over several hours.
Team-Based Stroke Services
A multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals at Aiken Regional Medical Centers works to evaluate and treat all stroke emergencies, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
To help deliver prompt, quality care, the multidisciplinary team consists of:
- Emergency physicians
- Emergency nurses
- Interventional cardiologists
- Radiologic technologists
- Registered cardiovascular invasive technologists
A Full Continuum of Care
Stroke patients have access to a comprehensive range of specially-designed services and treatments which focus on:
- Prevention and intervention
- Active management of strokes
Know the Warning Signs of a possible Stroke
Call 9-1-1 immediately if you experience, or if you witness someone else experiencing, the following:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or difficulty 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
Help Reduce Your Risk of Stroke
- Control your blood pressure
- Find out if you have heart disease, especially an irregular heartbeat known as atrial fibrillation (AF), and get treatment
- Find out if you have diabetes and get treatment
- Don't smoke
- Lower your cholesterol
- Limit your alcohol use
- Control your weight