Learn how to spot a STROKE

Did you know that most strokes are preventable? A large percentage of the ones that happen are treatable with the right care, right away. It’s a matter of knowing what to do, taking action and spreading the word so that others may learn.

The acronym B.E.F.A.S.T. can help you recognize stroke symptoms:
B – Balance: Watch for sudden loss of balance
E – Eyes: Check for vision loss
F – Face: Look for an uneven smile
A – Arm: Check if one arm is weak
S – Speech: Listen for slurred speech
T – Time: Call 9-1-1 right away

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel to a part of the brain becomes clogged or bursts. When this occurs, the nerve cells in that part of the brain can no longer work the right way. Every part of the brain controls a specific part of the body. The part of the brain that is affected by the blockage or bleeding will determine what deficits appear (for example, trouble speaking, walking or numbness and weakness).

Aitkin hospital is ‘Stroke Ready’
Riverwood Healthcare Center has a Stroke-Ready Hospital designation. Our medical and nursing staff has advanced training and is ready to deliver high-quality stroke care close to home.

“Timely care is critical for stroke patients,” said Dr. David Taylor, emergency medicine physician and chief medical officer. “Quick treatment may reverse or limit disability. It is recommended that stroke patients are treated within 3 to 4.5 hours from the first sign of stroke.”

Stroke prevention tips
You can take action to prevent a stroke with healthy living choices. Lose weight if you have a body mass index (BMI) of more than 30. A BMI of 22 to 25 is considered a healthy range. Excess weight puts individuals at risk for heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.

Stay physically active, aiming for at least 30 minutes a day. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and reduce consumption of saturated fats, which are found in red meats, dairy products, baked goods and fried foods.

Know your health numbers. Ask about your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar readings at annual wellness exams. Diet changes and medication can help manage these three critical health indicators. If you smoke, try to quit as stroke is 2-4 times higher for smokers than nonsmokers.