Stroke - When Every Minute Counts

Did you know stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of long‐term disability?

We know that a stroke can be terribly debilitating, but do you know the signs and symptoms of a stroke? The National Stroke Association has developed a simple acronym for stroke signs and symptoms –Think FAST.

F is for Face – Is there facial droop or asymmetry upon smiling?

A is for Arm – When someone holds both arms up in front of them, does one arm drift or is it weak? Is there any numbness of the arm?

S is for Speech – Does the person have difficulty speaking or understanding? Is the speech slurred.

If any of these symptoms are present the best thing to do is call 911 as soon as possible.

Stroke is a medical emergency caused by the decrease of blood to a part of the brain. There are two types of strokes. The first and most common is an ischemic stroke caused by a blood clot or a narrowing of an artery that has cut off blood supply.

The second is hemorrhagic stroke, caused by bleeding in or around the brain. This type only accounts for about 13 percent of all strokes and may be characterized by extremely severe headaches.

Seeking immediate treatment of a stroke is essential.

Early treatment may greatly decrease the risk of long‐term disability. For every minute a stroke goes untreated, as many as 1.9 million brain cells are lost.

Long gone are the days when there was not much to be done for stroke victims. There have been amazing advances in medicine and hospital processes to treat stroke patients, but nationally, less than 5% of patients get to the hospital in time to receive treatment. A stroke resolves in about eight hours, and a patient must come into the hospital within three hours of stroke symptom onset to receive acute treatment.

We know that many risk factors for stroke are modifiable – you can do something today to reduce your risk for stroke!!
Risk factors included:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Physical inactivity
  • Obesity
  • Atrial fibrillation

For the past XX years, San Ramon Regional Medical Center has received the Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold-Plus Quality Achievement Award for implementing specific quality improvement measures outlined by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association for the treatment of stroke patients.

Get With The Guidelines Stroke helps hospital teams provide the most up-to-date, research-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. San Ramon Regional Medical Center earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period.  These measures include aggressive use of medications and risk-reduction therapies aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients.

San Ramon Regional Medical Center also received the association’s Target: Stroke Honor Roll for meeting stroke quality measures that reduce the time between hospital arrival and treatment with the clot-buster  tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke. People who suffer a stroke who receive the drug within three hours of the onset of symptoms may recover quicker and are less likely to suffer severe disability.

Please visit www.heart.org/MyLifeCheck to see how you can take control and reduce your risk of having a stroke. Other resources include:

http://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/

http://health.nih.gov/topic/Stroke

http://www.stroke.org/site/PageNavigator/HOME