When someone shows symptoms of a stroke, they require immediate medical care. Learning to recognize stroke symptoms can help save a life.
What is a stroke?
A stroke is a sudden-onset neurological event that occurs when a blood vessel in or around the brain ruptures or is blocked by a blood clot. As a result, an area of the brain becomes deprived of oxygen and nutrients, and brain cells begin to die. According to the American Stroke Association, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, as well as a leading cause of disability.
If a blood vessel in the brain is blocked by a clot, it’s called an ischemic stroke. If a blood vessel has ruptured, it is known as a hemorrhagic stroke. Ischemic strokes are more common, while hemorrhagic strokes are more severe. In some instances, despite testing, the cause of a stroke cannot be determined, which is referred to as a cryptogenic stroke. There is also what is known as a mini-stroke, or transient ischemic attack (TIA), in which symptoms disappear after 24 hours. Though not as serious, anyone experiencing a TIA still requires medical evaluation as soon as possible.
What are the symptoms?
To help identify and respond to a possible stroke, remember the acronym B.E.F.A.S.T.
B = Balance. Has the person experienced a sudden loss of balance, staggering gait, or severe vertigo?
E = Eyes. Is the person having trouble seeing clearly from one or both eyes?
F = Face drooping. Is one side of the person’s face drooping or numb? Or is their smile uneven?
A = Arm weakness. Is one arm experiencing weakness or numbness? If both arms are raised, does
one droop down?
S = Speech difficulty. If the person is asked to repeat a simple phrase, can they repeat it back? Is it
slurred or hard to understand?
T = Time to call 9-1-1. If any of these signs are present, dial 9-1-1 immediately and note when the
symptoms first appeared.
How is a stroke treated?
In case of a stroke, "time is brain." The sooner a patient receives treatment, the better. White Plains Hospital has long been recognized for providing the most effective, evidence-based techniques for rapid stroke diagnosis and treatment. It has consistently earned the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's (AHA/ASA) prestigious Get with the Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus® Quality Achievement Award since 2005, and Honor Roll status for success in caring for stroke patients with the right treatments in a rapid time frame.
Clot-busting medications: After a patient is evaluated, a drug known as TNK (tenecteplase) can minimize, or even reverse, damage caused by a stroke when administered quickly. White Plains Hospital has been consistently recognized for administering thrombolytics to stroke patients within 60 minutes of arrival to the ED. Rapid TNK treatment improves survival and reduces the likelihood of complications and disability following ischemic stroke.
Some patients will require surgery, known as mechanical thrombectomy, to remove blood clots from the brain. Thrombectomy, known as the gold standard in stroke care, is now available to patients at White Plains Hospital as part of the expansion of its comprehensive stroke treatment. Performed in our biplane angiography suite, mechanical thrombectomies are the highest-quality acute stroke care, can save critical time for patients and potentially save lives.
Remember to B.E.F.A.S.T.: If you suspect that someone is experiencing a stroke, call 9-1-1 immediately.
Your physician can help you develop a personalized plan to reduce your stroke risk. To find the right physician for you, call 914-849-MyMD. To learn more about stroke care at White Plains Hospital, visit wphospital.org/stroke.