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Stroke Care

A stroke is one of the leading causes of death in the United States and the leading cause of permanent disability. Infirmary Health’s stroke programs provide immediate emergency medical treatment to stroke victims to ensure that they receive the treatment they need to protect their lives and prevent disability.

You may be suffering from a stroke if you experience the following symptoms (BEFAST):

  • Balance: loss of ability to balance
  • Eyes: sudden loss of vision
  • Face: loss of facial muscle control
  • Arms: loss of ability to control arms
  • Speech: slurred speech
  • Time: get help as soon as possible.

If you are suffering from a stroke, seek immediate medical assistance by dialing 911.

What Is a Stroke?

A stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks blood supply to the brain or causes a blood vessel in the brain to burst. Stroke does its damage by cutting off blood flow and nutrients to a part of the brain depriving it of oxygen. This can cause long term effects including but not limited to paralysis, trouble speaking or complete loss of the ability to speak, memory loss and trouble performing routine actions such as eating or walking by oneself.

The Kinds of Strokes

There are two main kinds of strokes: ischemic and hemorrhagic. Ischemic strokes are more common and occur when a blood clot blocks an artery. These types of strokes are often treated through thrombolysis therapy. A hemorrhagic stroke is much more serious and occurs when a blood vessel in the brain bursts often causing death.

Risk Factors for a Stroke

While some risk factors are hereditary and cannot be helped, most result out of lifestyle choices that are preventable by intentional healthy living.

Hereditary risk factors include:

  • Age
  • Gender (men are at a heightened risk)
  • Race
  • Diabetes
  • Prior strokes
  • Other hereditary factors

Other non-major risk factors for stroke include some very common diseases and.

These include:

  • Heart disease
  • Transient ischemic attacks
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • High red blood count

While these factors greatly increase an individual’s risk of suffering from a stroke, other lifestyle choices also increase the chance of having a stroke including, lack of exercise, abuse of alcohol, obesity and elevated cholesterol levels.

Treatment and Rehabilitation

Stroke can be treated through a combination of medication and physical therapy. The faster a stroke is treated, the more promising the outcome. Usually, thrombolysis treatments are used in which blood thinner medication is inserted into the affected area to break up the clot. Then rehabilitation is used to recover from the strokes affects.

STEPS Stroke Rehabilitation Program

Infirmary Health offers the STEPS stroke rehabilitation program at J.L. Bedsole/Rotary Rehabilitation Hospital. The program is focused on stroke treatment, education, prevention and safety.

With a vision of allowing patients to become health and independent individuals again, the program offers practical assistance such as:

  • Discharge counseling
  • Patient and family education
  • Speech, language, and other therapy
  • Driver evaluations, and
  • Other post stroke rehabilitation services
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