Stroke can happen suddenly, with no warning, and be easy to miss.
A stroke is a brain attack. It occurs when blood vessels in the brain, called arteries, are blocked or burst. The consequences of stroke can be long-term disability and even death. Obstruction or damage to the arteries in the brain may prevent it from getting the necessary blood supply. This can cause brain cells to die, inflicting permanent damage. Depending on which part of the brain is damaged, an individual’s ability to speak, see, and move may become impaired. That’s why it is important to act immediately the moment you suspect a stroke.
If you suspect a stroke in yourself or someone else, always remember to BE FAST.
What to look for:
What You Should Know About Stroke Risks
Stroke can happen to anyone at any time. There are several risk factors for stroke—some you can manage and some that are out of your control.
Risk factors that cannot be changed:
- 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 a stroke than men and more women die from stroke than from breast cancer every year
- Family history: You are at greater risk if a family member has had a stroke
Manageable risk factors:
- High blood pressure
- Atrial fibrillation (A-fib)
- High cholesterol
- Poor circulation
- Lack of physical activity
Acute Stroke Ready Hospital Certification
In 2014, the Stroke Program began an initiative to designate stroke-ready hospitals across the state to ensure all Minnesotans are within 30 minutes of a hospital equipped to provide proper stroke care. Perham Health is a certified Acute Stroke Ready Hospital (ASRH). Acute Stroke Ready Hospitals must meet certain criteria to be designated as such by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). Every three years, we participate in a rigorous survey to maintain our ASRH status. By maintaining our ASRH status, we can ensure our organization is ready to provide the best care possible for every stroke patient that comes into our emergency department. As such, we are prepared to evaluate, stabilize, and provide emergency treatment to patients with stroke symptoms.
Quick actions can save lives. Know the signs of a stroke and share them with others – remember to BE FAST. If you or someone you know is experiencing any stroke symptoms, call 911 immediately. It is always better to act quickly and be safe, even if you are unsure whether or not it is a stroke.
Timothy Studer, DO