St. Joseph Health System
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What is a Stroke?
A Stroke occurs when the flow of oxygenated blood to the brain is suddenly interrupted. There are two types of Stroke:

·          Ischemic Stroke which is caused by the buildup of fatty deposits (plaque) in a brain artery, or by a blood clot which blocks blood flow in a brain artery; or

·          Hemorrhagic Stroke which is caused by a sudden rupture of an artery leading to the brain. When blood ceases to flow to the brain, the brain receives no oxygen. This can cause temporary or permanent brain damage, and with time, can result in death.

What are the warning signs and symptoms of a Stroke?
A Stroke can cause several different symptoms. It is important to recognize the warning signs. Every second counts. Early treatment of a stroke can increase your chance of survival and diminish the likelihood of permanent brain damage.

Symptoms and Signs of Stroke

  • Difficulty feeling or moving one side of the body
  • Slurring words or trouble speaking
  • Brief episode of a weakness of an arm or leg
  • Momentary loss of vision
  • Darkening of the vision in one eye
  • Dizziness or confusion
  • Fainting (syncope) or feeling faint

Do not ignore the warning signs of a Stroke. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the above symptoms, immediately call 9-1-1 to get to emergency hospital care as quickly as possible.

If you feel that you may be at risk for a stroke, talk to your physician. He or she can perform imaging tests that detect cardiovascular disease early and help in the prevention of a stroke.

If you feel that someone you know is experiencing symptoms of a stroke, it is important to think FAST:

Ask the person to smile. Does one side of their face droop?
Arm: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Speech: Ask the person to say "the sky is blue." Does their speech sound slurred or strange?
Time: Time is vital. Treat a stroke as an emergency.

Stroke is a progressive disease caused by several cardiovascular risk factors. These include family history of stroke, age, diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, lack of exercise, and stress.

What are the treatment options for a Stroke?

Prevention of a stroke is the best medicine. This means making lifestyle changes to reduce your cardiovascular risk factors. If you modify your habits to lessen risk factors that lean to stroke, you can maintain, and in some cases, reverse the effects of the disease.

Should you or someone you know have a Stroke, a treatment plan will be developed specific to your condition. Your doctor will monitor your health carefully to prevent further brain damage. Your doctor may recommend therapy to help manage the aftermath of the stroke. This may include physical, speech and occupational therapy.
For a referral to a St. Joseph's cardiologist call 979.821.7589.


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