In most cases strokes can be prevented or the damage can be limited. Know what to look for and demand to be taken to only Stroke Certified Facilities or Hospitals. It’s your life and your outcome. Know where in your area, where it is best for you to go. Not all facilities are capable of giving your life and abilities back.
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Stroke happens to everyone regardless of age, background, gender, and race. Prevention is the best cure.
7/25/11, Marcus, not only had herpetic encephalitis, but he also had a stroke at eighteen.
Strokes cause one of the largest amounts of brain injuries that affect the human population at all ages, infants, teenagers, seniors and the elderly.
For stroke information: see http://www.strokeinfo.org/index.html
Prevention of strokes is of the utmost importance.
STROKE HAPPENS. To you. To those you love. Know the signs. Act F.A.S.T!
FAST stands for face, arms, speech and time, and is being used as part of a campaign by the Stroke Awareness Foundation to educate the public about warning signs of stroke and seek proper medical services immediately. If you think a person is having a stroke, call 9-1-1, especially if the person has trouble with these basic commands.
Face Does one side of the face droop? Ask the person to smile
Arms Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Speech Is speech slurred? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Is the sentence repeated correctly?
Time If the person shows any of these symptoms, CALL 9-1-1 Immediately!
Ask to be Transported to a Certified Stroke Center.
Ask if t-PA is Right For You. It’s a drug that can prevent the damage from a stroke but there is a time limit as to when it can be given.
A stroke happens when a part of the brain dies from lack of blood, usually because one of the arteries that supply oxygen-carrying blood to the brain has been damaged. There are two ways this can happen:
- Clogged vessel or ischemic stroke: Caused by blockage of a blood vessel in the brain, usually by a blood clot or by fatty deposits on the vessel wall. 85% of strokes are ischemic.
- Burst vessel or hemorrhagic stroke: Caused by a ruptured blood vessel, preventing normal flow and allowing blood to leak into brain tissue, destroying it. This occurs in 15% of strokes.
Stroke is a common and often misunderstood condition and its early symptoms are often ignored. Some brain cells deprived of oxygen die within minutes. Others may take a few hours to die depending on the nature of the blockage or hemorrhage. The loss of physical and mental functions is often permanent and can include motor-function disability. The most effective treatment for stroke can be administered if it is within three hours of the onset of stroke. Although strokes can occur at any age, most stroke patients (two-thirds) are over the age of 65.
A TRANSIENT ISCHEMIC ATTACK OR TIA is often described as a mini-stroke. Unlike a stroke however, the symptoms can disappear within a few minutes. A TIA happens when blood flow to part of the brain is blocked or reduced, often by a blood clot. After a short time, blood flows again and the symptoms go away. With a stroke, the blood flow stays blocked, and the brain has permanent damage.
In the past by definition, a TIA resolves within 24 hours, the majority of TIAs resolve within 60 minutes, and most resolve within 30 minutes. However newer neuroimaging studies demonstrate that 30% to 50% of TIAs show brain injury on diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance (MR) imaging.
A TIA is a warning: It means you are likely to have a stroke in the future. If you think you are having a TIA, call 911. Early treatment can help prevent a stroke. If you think you have had a TIA but your symptoms have gone away, you still need to call your doctor right away.
WALK (Is your balance off?)
TALK (Is your speech slurred or face droopy?)
REACH (Is your vision all or partly lost?)
FEEL (Is your headache severe?)
If you recognize any of these signs – even if they go away – call 9-1-1 immediately and tell the operator, paramedics, or emergency room staff, “I think this is a stroke.”
Key Stroke Facts
▪ Stroke is the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S. behind heart disease and cancer.
▪ Over 160,000 Americans die from stroke each year.
▪ Stroke is the leading cause of serious long-term disability in the United States.
▪ There are more than 6 million stroke survivors living today in our country and two-thirds of them are disabled.
▪ There are approximately 700,000 strokes in our country each year. About 500,000 of these are first or new strokes. About 200,000 occur in people who have already had a stroke.
▪ Strokes can and do occur at ANY age. Nearly one quarter of strokes occur under the age of 65.
▪ The risk of stroke more than doubles each decade after the age of 55.
▪ Each year, an estimated 4,500 Santa Clara residents are hospitalized for stroke and the cost for medical care and rehabilitation and lost productivity locally is about $300 million annually.
▪ Up to 80% of strokes are preventable.
▪ High blood pressure
▪ High cholesterol
▪ Family history of stroke
▪ Previous Strokes
▪ 1 in 4 Americans could not name a single stroke risk factor.
Smoking Quadruples Risk Factor
▪ Smoking is the leading preventable risk factor for strokes. In fact, smokers are four times more likely to have a stroke than non-smokers. Exposure to second-hand smoke may double a non-smoker’s risk.
Tobacco Increases Chances of Stroke
▪ Cigarette smoking is the #1 preventable risk factor for stroke. The nicotine and carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood.
▪ They also damage blood vessel walls, making clots more likely to form.
▪ Cigarette smoking increases the risk of coronary heart disease by itself. When it acts with other factors, it greatly increases risk.
▪ Other factors include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, obesity and diabetes.
▪ Smoking increases blood pressure, decreases exercise tolerance and increases the tendency for blood to clot.
▪ Cigarette smoking is the most important risk factor for young men and women. It produces a greater relative risk in persons under age 50 than in those over 50.
▪ Women who smoke and use oral contraceptives greatly increase their risk of coronary heart disease and stroke compared with non-smoking women who use oral contraceptives.
▪ Smoking decreases HDL (good) cholesterol. Cigarette smoking combined with a family history of heart disease also seems to greatly increase the risk.
▪ 17% of California adults were smokers in 2005
Women and Stroke
▪ Stroke kills twice as many women as breast cancer every year.
▪ A majority of women mistakenly believe that they have a higher risk for cancer than stroke.
▪ More than 30% of strokes occur in women before the age of 65.
▪ More than 100,000 women died from stroke last year.
▪ While less than half of stroke victims will be women (43%). More women than men die from stroke (62%).
▪ Studies have shown that women take 46% longer than men to get to the emergency room after stroke symptoms occur.
▪ Women do not always experience classic symptoms.
▪ Women significantly outnumber men as caregivers to stroke survivors (59% – 75%).
▪ The average caregiver is a married 46-year old working woman earning $36,000 per year.
▪ Stroke deaths are twice as likely for African Americans than for Caucasians. African Americans are twice as likely to die from stroke as Caucasians.
▪ The rate of first strokes in African Americans is almost double that of Caucasians.
▪ Compared with Caucasian males 45 to 54 years old, African American males in the same age group have a threefold greater risk of ischemic stroke.
▪ Not all of the reasons are clear but some factors include a higher rate of the following:
▪ High blood pressure- this is the number one risk factor for stroke and 1 in 3 African Americans suffer from high blood pressure.
▪ Diabetes- people with diabetes have a higher stroke risk.
▪ Sickle cell anemia- this is a genetic disorder that mainly affects African Americans.
▪ “Sickle” red blood cells are less able to carry oxygen to the body’s tissues and organs and tend to stick to blood vessel walls. This can block arteries to the brain and cause a stroke.
▪ Obesity- African Americans have a higher incidence of obesity than Caucasians.
▪ Smoking- African Americans also have a higher incidence of smoking than Caucasians.
Barriers to Stroke Treatment
▪ While t-PA can potentially benefit most stroke victims. Stroke patients who receive t-PA are at least 55% more likely to leave the hospital with little or no disability after three months.
▪ Less than 2 percent of stroke patients receive t-PA. Some reasons include:
▪ Typically patients arrive 12 – 24 hours after the first stroke symptom.
▪ Family and friends as well as bystanders who attempt to help a stroke victim may not recognize the warning signs or the need for rapid transportation
▪ Stroke symptoms may be hard to identify and are often mis-diagnosed by emergency medical personnel.
▪ Only hospitals with certified stroke centers are equipped to immediately treat stroke victims well within the three –hour window.
▪ Patients often wait for their primary care physicians in the emergency room instead of seeking immediate treatment by neurologists at certified stroke centers.
♥ Please see: View video of Charles Toeniskoetter, Co-Founder of Stroke Awareness Foundation, speaking at the Regional Stroke Care Symposium II. http://www.strokeinfo.org/index.html