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  • Writer's pictureSecond Opinion Magazine

What You Should Know About Strokes

A stroke, sometimes called a brain attack, is a serious medical emergency. Time is of the essence in diagnosing and treating a stroke. Fast treatment can greatly reduce significant disability, such as paralysis, speech difficulties and emotional problems.

There are two main types of strokes. About 85% of strokes are non-bleeding brain injuries and about 15% of strokes are bleeding brain injuries. A non-bleeding stroke, which is a type of ischemic stroke, happens when a blood vessel to or in your brain gets blocked. In this blocked area, the brain loses its nutrient blood supply that provides oxygen and glucose. A bleeding stroke, which is a type of hemorrhagic stroke, happens when a blood vessel in your brain ruptures. This area of brain becomes so injured that it also loses its nutrient supply.

How to recognize a stroke in yourself or someone else: The following B.E.F.A.S.T. guideline helps you recognize stroke symptoms and remember that timely treatment is the key to saving someone’s life or improving their quality of life.

B is for BALANCE — Are you or the person you are helping experiencing a sudden loss of balance or issues with coordination? E is for EYES — Are you or the person experiencing a sudden change in vision or trouble seeing? F is for FACE — Can you or the person smile or does one side of the face droop? A is for ARMS — Can you or the person raise both arms or does one arm drift downward? S is for SPEECH — Can you or the person repeat a simple phrase or is the speech slurred or strange sounding? T is for TIME — When did any of these signs start? AND call 9-1-1 immediately!

Mercyhealth has two Joint Commission certified Advanced Primary Stroke Centers and two Acute Stroke Ready Centers. This means we are prepared to treat strokes 24/7. All Mercyhealth hospitals are closely networked with each other, bringing stroke expertise to your bedside via stroke specialist visits or two-way video meetings.

How to cut your stroke risk: • Eating a healthy diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, low in trans-fat and low in salt • Maintaining a healthy weight • Staying physically active each day • Quitting smoking • Consuming alcohol only in moderation • Preventing or treating high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol

To learn more about your stroke risk factors or how to improve your health numbers, talk to your health care provider.

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