Never deny you don’t feel well. When stroke symptoms occur, it’s often accompanied by confusion, worry, and outright denial. If you have any questions, or the slightest concern, call 911. Or go immediately to the hospital – BUT DO NOT DRIVE YOURSELF!
F = Face. Facial weakness. Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A=Arm. Arm weakness. Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S=Speech. Speech Problems. Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Are the words slurred? Can the patient repeat the sentence correctly?
T=Time. Time is critical. If the person shows any of these symptoms, call 911 or get to the hospital fast. Brain cells are dying.
Don't Delay Treatment. Every stroke is a life-threatening emergency. The most important weapon you have against stroke or brain attack is time. Very often, precious minutes are lost because symptoms were denied. New treatment techniques can actually reduce the amount of damage suffered, if you are treated on time. Time is critical. To receive treatment your stroke must be quickly diagnosed.
Don’t Die of Embarrassment. There is no reason to let embarrassment prevent you from seeking immediate treatment for suspected stroke symptoms – even if it does not turn out to be a stroke.
Turn to Methodist Healthcare for Stroke Services. Methodist Healthcare’s certified stroke center hospitals provide complete emergency treatment for stroke patients around the clock. Our hospitals are strategically located to help meet your stroke care needs when immediate access to these services can mean the difference between life or death. We know that the sooner you seek treatment, the better your chances of avoiding a stroke or minimizing its effects.
Methodist Hospital, the largest provider of stroke care in South Texas, has earned Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification from DNV GL Healthcare, USA, Inc., one of the leading accrediting agencies in the United States. Facilities certified as Comprehensive Stroke Centers offer the most advanced stroke treatment available in a given geographic area. The emphasis these programs place on deploying a disciplined management system, combined with the relevant clinical best practices, sets DNV GL stroke certifications apart from other programs.
The Joint Commission, an organization devoted to developing and evaluating the highest health care standards, has designated Methodist Hospital and its campuses at Metropolitan Methodist Hospital and Northeast Methodist Hospital as well as Methodist Stone Oak Hospital, as Primary Stroke Centers.
You’re in Experienced Hands
- Neurology nurses, certified in stroke care by the National Institutes of Health
- Surgical services team dedicated to neurosurgery patients
- Rehabilitation team with extensive experience in physical, occupational and speech therapy
- Radiology services team, experts in areas of special procedures, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Computerized Tomography (CT), and Gamma Knife® treatment
- Emergency Department staff with extensive experience in treating patients with stroke symptoms
- Our team also includes a PhD-prepared Neuro Clinical Nurse Specialist, who also represents Methodist Healthcare on the board of the American Association of Neurosciences Nurses
Experienced and Innovative Medical Team
- Emergency Physicians
- Neuro Interventional Radiologists – available to treat intra-arterial thrombolysis, mechanical clot retrieval and coil treatment for aneurysms
- Vascular Surgeons – for any urgent vascular interventions
- Neurologists – available for consultations regarding administration of tPA (tissue plasminogen activator), a clot busting drug approved for use in certain patients having a stroke. The drug must be administered within a three-hour period from onset of symptoms of an ischemic stroke. Timely administration of tPA can reduce loss of physical and mental functioning that strokes can cause.
Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of adult disability. Though this number is high, we are making progress thanks to major advances in medical treatment and diagnosis, plus increased public awareness and more emphasis on reducing the major risk factors of stroke.
The brain needs a constant supply of blood, which carries the oxygen and nutrients it needs to function. Arteries supply blood to specific areas of the brain. A stroke occurs when one of these arteries is blocked or bursts. As a result, part of the brain does not get the blood it needs, so it starts to die. Several different risk factors contribute to the occurrence of stroke or brain attack. Fortunately, you can control many of these risk factors.
- Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) If an artery leading to the brain, or inside the brain, becomes blocked for a short period of time, the blood flow to an area of the brain slows or stops. This lack of blood and oxygen can cause a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) or mini-stroke, with symptoms such as numbness, trouble speaking, and loss of balance or coordination. It is common for these symptoms to last for a very short period of time and then disappear. While TIAs cause no permanent brain damage, they are a serious warning sign of stroke and should not be ignored.
- Ischemic Stroke: There are two types of ischemic strokes: embolic and thrombotic. In an embolic stroke, a blood clot or plaque fragment forms somewhere in the body (usually the heart or in the large arteries leading to the brain) and moves through the bloodstream to the brain. Once in the brain, the clot blocks a blood vessel and leads to a stroke. A thrombotic stroke is a blood clot that does not travel but forms inside an artery which sup-plies blood to the brain. The clot may interrupt the blood flow and cause a stroke.
- Hemorrhagic Stroke: Strokes caused by a bursting blood vessel in the brain that spills blood into the brain are called hemorrhagic strokes. High blood pressure and brain aneurysms can both cause the blood vessel to be weak and possibly cause this type of stroke. An intracerebral hemorrhage, a type of hemorrhagic stroke, is caused when a burst blood vessel bleeds into the brain. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is the most common cause of this type of stroke. The bleeding causes brain cells to die, and that part of the brain no longer works correctly. In a subarachnoid hemorrhage, the other type of hemorrhagic stroke, a blood vessel bursts in the brain and blood pours into the area around the outside of the brain. This bleeding may increase pressure in the brain, injuring brain cells. This type of stroke has many possible causes, but is usually the result of a burst aneurysm. An aneurysm is a weak spot on the wall of an artery that may balloon out, forming a thin-walled bubble. As it gets bigger, the aneurysm gets weaker and can burst, leaking blood into or outside of the brain.
The goal of treatment is to prevent further brain damage. The treatment plan is based on whether the stroke is caused by blockage of blood flow or if it is caused by bleeding from a burst blood vessel in the brain.
IF THE STROKE IS CAUSED BY BLOCKAGE, THE TREATMENT MAY INCLUDE:
- Medications that maintain your blood pressure
- Medications that thin the blood
- Medications that help dissolve clots
- Medications that reduce the brain swelling
- Surgery that removes the plaque from the inside of the blood vessels of the arteries going to the brain
IF THE STROKE WAS CAUSED BY BLEEDING, THE TREATMENT MAY INCLUDE:
- Medications that lower your blood pressure
- Medications that maintain your normal blood clotting
- Medications that prevent or reverse brain swelling
- Blocking off the bleeding vessels with a balloon or coil
- Surgery to remove the blood in the brain or decrease the pressure
- Surgery to fix the broken blood vessels
Download StrokeMATTERS magazine to learn more about stroke including signs, symptoms, risk factors, treatment, testing, rehabilitation and more.