October 27, 2017
Sunday (10/29) is World Stroke Day. The FAST acronym lists the warning signs of stroke.
The statistic is world-wide: 1 in 5 women, and 1 in 6 men will suffer a stroke in their lifetime. Because they prevent blood and oxygen from reaching the brain, the longer strokes go untreated, the more serious the results can be.
"If you even think you might be having a stroke, call 911 immediately," says KVH Stroke Coordinator Cody Staub. An emergency room RN, Staub has seen the reluctance to quickly get help play out on more than one occasion, when patients who wake up with stroke symptoms wait until the afternoon to come to the hospital. While waiting might seem prudent at the time, it's actually quite costly: "Every minute a stroke is left untreated means millions more brain cells lost."
That's why KVH has a protocol in place for treating patients who have had a stroke. An overhead "stroke alert" page brings a trained stroke team to the patient's location in the hospital, ready to go through the necessary steps to determine the type of stroke, to evaluate and to stabilize the patient, to determine next steps (which may include treatment with clot busting drugs), and, when needed, to transfer them for procedures like advanced clot removal which can be especially important for those procrastinating patients who have had symptoms for several hours.
"Once they're at the hospital, our goal for the entire process is less than one hour," says Staub.
What you can do.
Despite the statistics, there are things you can do to lessen your chance of stroke.
- Know your risk factors: high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol.
- Be physically active.
- Eat a diet high in fruit and vegetables and low in salt.
- Limit alcohol consumption.
- Avoid cigarette smoke.
It's a short list, but not a simple one, and not the kind of thing to tackle long-term on your own. So if you're ready to get serious about preventing a stroke, have those important conversations - with your family and friends, with your healthcare provider, with those who care enough to help you start and maintain the healthy habits that could save your life.
Bottom line: strokes don't care about your plans. But you do. It's time to strike back.
Managed by Kittitas Valley Healthcare, HealthNews does not provide medical advice. For medical advice, please see your healthcare provider.
Related: (video) American Heart Association's "Treat Stroke F.A.S.T"