What are the Warning Signs of a Stroke?
The five major warning signs of stroke are:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face,
arm or leg, particularly when it happens on
one side of the body
- Confusion, trouble speaking or
- Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Loss of balance or coordination, dizziness
and trouble walking
- Severe headache with no known cause
If you're like most Americans, you don't know as much about brain attacks or strokes as you should. Each year approximately 600,000 Americans suffer a stroke and more than 167,000 die. That's one stroke every fifty-three seconds, making stroke a leading cause of adult disability and the third leading cause of death nationwide.
If stroke should happen to you or someone you know, we're ready. At Lansdale Hospital, our stroke services include emergency diagnostics, evaluation and treatment, acute rehabilitation, education and prevention. Our Acute Rehabilitation Unit (ARU) offers 13 private rooms, a homelike environment and a specially trained staff. Conveniently located on the second floor of the hospital, the ARU provides stroke patients with the 24-hour care and therapy they may need to improve their overall health and recover lost functional skills.
What is a Stroke?
A stroke, also called a brain attack, occurs when an artery blockage prevents blood from reaching cells in the brain (ischemic stroke), or when an artery ruptures on the inside or outside of the brain, causing hemorrhage (hemorrhagic stroke). A stroke must be treated with the same sense of urgency as a heart attack. Learn to recognize the warning signs and seek immediate medical treatment. Just three hours can make a difference between life and quality of life.
Why is fast stroke treatment so critical? It has to do with the type of treatments available. Studies have shown that thrombolytic drugs, or clot-busting drugs, can effectively stop strokes in some patients. These tissue plasminogen activators (TPA's) can help restore the flow of blood to the brain and minimize the risk of disabilities. To be effective though, a TPA drug must be administered within three hours of the onset of symptoms.
What are the Effects of a Stroke?
Depending on which part of the brain is affected and how severely it is injured, the effects can range from mild to severe and may include:
- Sudden weakness
- Loss of sensation
- Difficulty thinking or speaking
- Impaired vision
- Walking difficulties
- Memory loss
50 to 70 percent of stroke survivors regain some functional independence, but 15 to 30 percent become seriously disabled.
How Can I Reduce my Risk?
- Evaluate your family medical history and discuss it with your doctor
- Get checked for carotid artery disease, atrial fibrillation and diabetes
- Know your numbers - keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control
- Quit Smoking
- Limit the amount of alcoholic beverages you drink
- If necessary, lose weight
- Get regular cardiovascular exercise
- Avoid Stress