With Stoke, Every Second Counts
Rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke is critical and can minimize life-long complications. San Dimas Community Hospital’s team of stroke specialists understands this urgency and is at the patient’s bedside within minutes. Care for patients is coordinated from the moment of first contact through rehabilitation. Part of our commitment to delivering high-quality stroke care is to have a neurologist coverage 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
What is a Stroke?
Your brain relies on a steady flow of blood, bringing it the oxygen and nutrients it needs to survive. A stroke happens when a blood clot blocks one of your arteries or an artery ruptures, preventing blood flow to that area of the brain. This is considered a “brain attack.”
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of stroke can help you get care as quickly as possible and reduce your risk for long-term complications.
Symptoms of a stroke vary depending on the type of stroke, as well as the location and degree of brain damage. If a stroke is caused by a large blood clot or bleeding, symptoms occur within seconds. When an artery is already narrowed or blocked, stroke symptoms usually develop gradually within minutes to hours or, rarely, days. However, symptoms of a small stroke, also known as a TIA (transient ischemic attack), may be confused with the effects of aging or with conditions that cause similar symptoms.
The effects of a stroke range from mild to severe and may be temporary or permanent. A stroke can affect vision, speech, behavior, the ability to think and the ability to move parts of the body. Sometimes it can cause a coma or death. Just as with a heart attack, someone having a stroke needs immediate emergency care. The sooner medical treatment begins, the fewer brain cells may be damaged. If someone is showing symptoms of a stroke, call 911 immediately.
Use the Acronym B. E. F.A.S.T. to Spot a Stroke
- B = Loss of balance – unstable with less coordination, stumbling, unable to walk correctly.
- Wobbling around, grabbing onto a stationary object, tripping over nothing, unsteady movements (like motion sickness).
- E = Vision changes: blurred vision or trouble with eyesight in one or both eyes. Squinting or rubbing eyes, not able to read.
- F = Face Dropping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
- A = Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- S = Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or hard to understand?
- T = Time to call 911 – If the person shows any of these symptoms call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.
Watch for Sudden Onset of Other Stroke Symptoms Including:
- Numbness, weakness, or inability to move (paralysis) of the face, arm, leg, especially on one side of the body
- Trouble seeing in one or both eyes, such as dimness, blurring, double vision or loss of vision
- Confusion or trouble speaking
- Trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination
- Severe headache with no known cause
What are the causes and risk factors of stroke?
Stroke can happen to anyone at any age. Some risk factors are manageable while others are out of ones’ control.
Uncontrollable Risk Factors:
- Age: Stroke can occur at any age: 1 out of 5 people who have a stroke are under 55 and your chance of stroke increases as you get older.
- Race: African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian/Pacific Islanders have a higher risk of stroke than people of other races.
- Gender: More women have stroke than men and more women die from stroke than from breast cancer every year.
- Family history: You are of greater risk if a family member has had a stroke
Manageable Risk Factors:
- High blood pressure
- Atrial fibrillation
- High cholesterol
- Poor circulation
- Lack of physical activity