Strokes occur when blood flow is cut off or blocked to a part of the brain, which can result in dead brain cells or brain damage. This is why acting fast when someone is having a stroke is so important.
Stroke treatment must be received within three hours from the last point you or your loved one functioned normally. With stroke, the quicker you receive treatment, the less damage you’ll endure — that’s why the universal motto for stroke is to “act FAST.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, here’s what each letter from the acronym “FAST” stands for.
F—Face: Ask the person having a stroke to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A—Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S—Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is the speech slurred or strange?
T—Time: If you see any of these signs, call 9-1-1 right away.
Stroke symptoms come on suddenly, and a person might experience one or several symptoms at once. According to Dr. Margaret Loewen, Medical Director of the ER at Prowers Medical Center, a diagnosis of stroke can be complicated, which is why it is best to go to the hospital even if you’re just a little bit concerned.
Some common, sudden symptoms that indicate a person is having a stroke include the following:
- Numbness or weakness of the face, arms or legs.
- Confusion or difficulty speaking.
- Vision changes.
- Trouble walking or lack of coordination.
- Severe headache with no known cause.
Prowers Medical Center has a very sophisticated, well organized stroke process, which Lamar area residents can find incredibly reassuring. When you visit Prowers for stroke treatment, you’ll receive fast access to stroke neurologists via the stroke robot and radiologists who read the CT scans of your brain.
“Through UC Health, we have 24/7 access to a stroke neurologist who can evaluate the patient via our stroke robot — a telemedicine video tool where the neurologist along with the ER physician examines the patient at the bedside,” said Leslie Day, R.N., Emergency Services Manager.
What does this mean for patients? It means quick treatment to stop the stroke and stop any potential damage.
If you suspect stroke, act immediately by calling 911. Even if you or your loved one experiences symptoms that go away after only a few minutes, you need to be seen by a physician to rule out a “mini-stroke” or TIA (transient ischemic attack). Untreated TIA’s can be predicative of stroke.
“Our stroke program is a marvelous service to our community,” Dr. Loewen said. “We are here to help.”
For more information on stroke or symptoms of stroke, go to cdc.gov/stroke.