Do you know the signs of a stroke?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S. has a stroke. Strokes kill an estimated 140,000 Americans each year, accounting for one of every 20 deaths. Worldwide, strokes claim the lives of more than six million people annually.
Anyone can suffer a stroke. While there are warning signs to look for, they’re not always present at the time of a stroke. In general, it’s important to remember the acronym B.E. F.A.S.T. if you suspect someone is having a stroke.
B.E. F.A.S.T. stands for:
B: Balance loss
E: Eyes, meaning vision is blurry
F: Face drooping
A: Arm drooping to one side
S: Slurred speech, difficulty speaking or being unable to speak
T: Terrible headache and Time to call 911 if you notice any of the above
With stroke care, time is everything. The amount of time between the first sign of a stroke and receiving medical care is critical in preventing brain damage and other complications associated with a stroke. Remember, time is brain!
Knowing the warning signs is extremely important, but it is also necessary to know the best place to receive appropriate care.
“People should be aware of where the nearest stroke center is,” says Dr. Demetrius Lopes, co-director of the Stroke Program and medical director of the Cerebrovascular & Neuroendovascular Program at the Advocate Brain & Spine Institute located on the Advocate Lutheran General Hospital campus in Park Ridge, Ill.
“Hospitals in the Advocate Stroke Network offer the closest and most comprehensive stroke care to most communities in the Midwest,” Dr. Lopes says. “Identifying the closest hospital to you is important and could save precious brain cells in case of a stroke.”
In the near future, Dr. Lopes hopes to tap into new innovations that can signal the possibility of a stroke before it happens. He hopes that this technology will help detect the deadliest type of stroke, known as hemorrhagic stroke, caused by brain aneurysm, before it ruptures.
“Thirty percent of aneurysms are fatal. It’s important to see ahead of time if a patient is at risk for one,” says Dr. Lopes. “We are looking at new technology that can help screen patients in the field, such as new wearable devices like helmets that can help tell EMS if the patient needs surgery so they know where to take them.”
Want to learn more about your risk for stroke? Take a quick, free online risk assessment by clicking here.
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.