At EIRMC, we deliver an aggressive approach to stroke care with expertise from neurologists, other physicians, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, speech therapists, dietitians, and respiratory therapists. Both patient and family participate in therapy planning, and each program is designed to ensure that all the necessary support services are provided. Our goal is the same as yours: to maximize rehabilitation and recovery in order to return each stroke patient to the fullest level of independence possible.

Stroke survival: early intervention

It’s important to recognize stroke symptoms and call 911 immediately. Symptoms include weakness, numbness or speech problems. It's essential to realize that most strokes do not cause pain, so many people who experience stroke symptoms are not motivated to go to the emergency room. But stroke is a life-threatening medical emergency. Ignoring the symptoms could be catastrophic. Here are symptoms to watch for:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking; dizziness; loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Recognize, as the saying goes, that “Time is brain.” This means that any delay in getting a stroke victim to a hospital may result in greater damage to the brain tissue.

There is a medication available called tPA, which is the only FDA-approved drug used for “clot busting. ”If given within a short time from the beginning of stroke symptoms, it can help reverse the effects of a stroke. EIRMC physicians determine if a stroke victim is a candidate to receive tPA.

Reducing your risk of stroke

What happens during a stroke is in many ways similar to what happens in a heart attack. Both involve a blockage of blood flow. Because of this similarity, controlling risk factors for heart disease will also help in the prevention of stroke. Here are ways in which you can reduce the risk of having a stroke:

  • Control your blood pressure
  • Control diabetes
  • Don't smoke
  • Control your weight and cholesterol
  • Be physically active
  • Avoid excessive alcohol consumption