May is Stroke Awareness Month

May 03, 2013

he month of May is designated as National Stroke Awareness Month and Bronson Healthcare is taking the opportunity to educate people on stroke prevention, detection and treatment.

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States, affecting one person every forty seconds and often causing serious long-term disability.

A stroke is caused when blood flow is constricted to the brain. Sometimes referred to as brain attacks, they can occur when the blood vessels surrounding the brain burst. Side effects can include paralysis on one side of the body; mental confusion and slurred speech.

Although most strokes occur in people aged 65 years or older, they can happen at any age. Several factors are related to having a stroke, including high blood pressure, obesity, physical inactivity, genetics and cigarette smoke. Fortunately, many of these can be reduced by a change in lifestyle habits and medication.

Neurointerventional surgeon, Jeffery Miller, MD, of Bronson Neuroscience Center, says that many stroke patients can recover if they receive the appropriate treatment quickly. “The more time that is wasted, the more brain lost. But to help someone find immediate help, you have to know the symptoms.”

The simple acronym, F.A.S.T., can be used to recognize the symptoms of stroke.

F – Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

A – Arms: Ask the person to hold up both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S – Speech: Ask the person to complete a simple sentence, like “John and Jane went on a picnic.” Are the words slurred? Does the person repeat the sentence correctly?

T – Time: If the person shows any of these symptoms, time is very important. Call 911 immediately and get to a hospital fast. Brain cells are dying.

Those who do survive strokes undergo intensive rehabilitation, beginning in the hospital and continuing on to outpatient rehabilitation. Stroke survivors can re-learn basic skills such as talking, eating, dressing and walking. It helps patients to increase strength, flexibility and endurance, and regain as much independence as possible.

About Bronson Stroke Treatment Services

Bronson Methodist Hospital has been designated the most preferred for stroke treatment in Kalamazoo County by Professional Research Consultants in 2012. It’s been rated as one of Healthgrades America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Stroke Care since 2012. Bronson Methodist Hospital is designated a Certified Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission, and as a Stroke Center for Excellence by NeuStrategy.