Health Care Public Health

Becoming Aware of a Stroke

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Stroke Awareness

Stroke. That word can carry a heavy weight for many. But for many others, they may not know much about strokes. This is why Stroke Awareness Month is important. The purpose of the initiative is to make sure everyone understands the signs and symptoms of a stroke.

Just like matters of the heart, time is of the utmost importance to seek medical attention for a stroke.

“With a lot of different disease processes, you know you have pain,” said Melody Wright, AdventHealth Redmond stroke coordinator. “With a stroke, however most of the time you don’t, and people, especially females, will put it off going to the emergency room but it’s one of those things that every moment counts just like with your heart.”

Wright said to always remember BE FAST.

  • Balance: Some people experience dizziness when they are having a stroke.
  • Eyes: Blurred vision, loss of vision in the peripheral fields or feeling like a curtain is covering one eye can be symptoms of a stroke.
  • Face: A person’s face may droop on one side when they experience a stroke.
  • Arms: Experiencing weakness in one arm when they raise their arms is another sign of a stroke.
  • Speech: A person’s speech may become slurred, and they are unable to speak clearly. They may also say things that don’t make any sense.
  • Time: Don’t wait. Act fast to call an ambulance and get to the hospital.

Not everyone experiencing a stroke will have all the symptoms. Some people may only have a few symptoms, or others may even only have one symptom. The key is to act fast no matter how many or which symptoms are occurring.

There are two types of strokes, hemorrhagic occurs when there is blood in the brain. An ischemic stroke happens when there is a clot in your brain. If you are experiencing an ischemic stroke, you have a four-hour window to seek help for doctors to be able to administer medication to reverse the stroke.

“It may not happen to you, but you could very well witness someone else,” Wright said. “It’s really important to call 911 and get them to AdventHealth Redmond.”

Melody Wright - Stroke Coordinator

AdventHealth Redmond is a certified Advanced Primary Stroke Center by the Joint Commission due to its advanced practices and technologies. The hospital has a team of stroke-certified nurses, neurologists and emergency-certified providers, along with the latest technology to diagnose and care for stroke patients.

When the hospital is notified that a possible stroke patient is enroute, the team jumps into action to prepare and gather in an area known as “the stroke box.” This allows the team to easily work together to treat the patient. It also means the patient only has to tell their story once rather than numerous times.

Strokes are incredibly common occurrences, with someone experiencing a stroke every 40 seconds. Here in the South, we are even part of what is known as the Stroke Belt. What this means is we see more strokes in the southeastern United States than in other regions.

However, if you get your risk factors controlled, then you could decrease your chance of experiencing a stroke by up to 80%.

Risk factors

  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Family history
  • Age

“That’s why it’s so important to have those yearly routine visits,” Wright said. “To get your cholesterol checked and those kind of things. Because if you can get those modifiable risk factors taken care of, then it decreases your chance of stroke by up to 80%.”

Weight loss, along with lowering your cholesterol and blood pressure, can help decrease your risk of experiencing a stroke. Smokers who quit will also help lower their chances along with decreasing alcohol consumption.

But at the end of the day, there are just some things humans don’t have any control over and all you can do is be prepared. Always be on the lookout for signs of stroke and get to AdventHealth Redmond quickly if you experience or see someone showing signs of a stroke.

“Just remember to BE FAST,” Wright said. “Don’t hesitate. There is a short window we can give you a reversal agent for an ischemic stroke and often people are stubborn and wait to come in. And then unfortunately you’re out of that window. So don’t wait for your husband to get off work or take a nap to see if the symptoms go away, it’s really important to just come on and that’s when you need to call an ambulance.”

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