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Recognizing & Responding to Stroke: Fast Care Leading to Better Outcomes for Patients

July 17, 2018

Did you know that someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds?

American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s FAST acronym

Stroke can lead to brain damage, long-term disability and even death. In fact, it is the fifth leading cause of death in the nation and a prominent cause of adult disability. On average, nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 75% of all strokes (or 610,000 strokes) each year are a patient’s first attack (vs. recurrent attack) – stressing the importance that everyone should understand what a stroke is, how to recognize its symptoms, and seek treatment fast for loved ones.

What is a Stroke?

Stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is blocked, a condition called an ischemic stroke, or a blood vessel in the brain ruptures, which is known as a hemorrhagic stroke. As both types of stroke directly affect the brain, every second counts when it comes to beginning treatment. The faster the care, the better the patient’s chances of positive outcomes – survival and decreased physical and neurological disabilities.

Many strokes are cause by vascular or heart conditions, such as high blood pressure and heart disease. In addition to neurology team, Orange Regional Medical Group Physicians, Dr. Emmanuel Nketiah, Cardiologist, and Dr. Raghuram Gorti, Vascular surgeon, are able to provide care to help stroke prevention.

If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or a personal or family history of stroke, we encourage you to talk to your doctor, or call Orange Regional Medical Group at 845-333-7575, to gain a personal health assessment and discuss your risks, prevention tips and for more information about what to do if you or a loved one suffers a stroke.

Recognizing Stroke Signs and Symptoms F.A.S.T.

To help remember the signs and symptoms of a stroke so you can recognize them and act quickly, the stroke experts at Orange Regional Medical Center and Catskill Regional Medical Center suggest committing the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s FAST acronym to memory:

  • F… Face Drooping
    • Ask the person to smile. Does their smile appear uneven or lopsided?
  • A… Arm Weakness
    • Ask the person to raise their arms. Does one drift downward?
  • S… Speech Difficulty
    • Is the person hard to understand or unable to speak? Note any slurred speech.
  • T… Time to call 911
    • If the person has any of these symptoms, and even if they’ve gone away, call 9-1-1.

If you feel you have identified the signs of a stroke, immediately begin the process of getting the person to a hospital. It is often best to request transportation to an Emergency Department via ambulance rather than personal vehicle, as potentially life-saving diagnosis and treatment can actually begin with EMS professionals in the ambulance. Try to make a mental note about when the symptoms first appeared; emergency responders will want that information.

FAST is an excellent way to quickly identify a potential stroke situation, but there are additional signs that can also come on very suddenly, including:

  • Numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg; especially on one side of the body
  • Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Trouble walking, dizziness, lack of balance or coordination
  • Severe headache with no known cause

Designated Stroke Centers Providing Exceptional Patient Care

Orange Regional Medical Center and Catskill Regional Medical Center are both designated Stroke Centers by the New York State Department of Health. As designated centers, the two hospitals have expert Stroke Teams comprising highly trained physicians, nurses and technicians equipped to treat stroke patients expediently, with the latest medicines and techniques to minimize brain damage.

Both hospitals have also received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award, which recognizes hospitals that meet specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients. The stroke experts at both Orange Regional and Catskill Regional provide community members immediate and crucial access to high quality stroke care right here in the Hudson Valley and Catskills.

Learn more

All content presented are provided for informational and educational purposes only, and are not intended to approximate or replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read within the website content. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.


Categories: Diagnosis & Preventative Care, Heart Health, Recommended Stories, StrokeTags

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