When “Beverly Hills, 90210” star Luke Perry died recently after suffering a massive stroke, the TV-viewing public, as well as those of us in the medical profession, had to take notice. Not only was Perry a beloved television star, husband and father, but he was only 52 years old.
Perry’s passing has shined a new light on the fact that stroke is not just for the “old.” Many reports have surfaced stating that stroke is actually on the rise in younger people.
At Physicians Regional Healthcare System, though most of our stroke patients are over the age of 50, we’ve successfully treated a star high school athlete, a 20-something mother of five, and many others who have yet to hit the mid-century mark.
The bottom line: We all need to be on the receiving end of stroke education.
According to the American Stroke Organization, stroke is a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. It is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the United States.
A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts (or ruptures). When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so it and brain cells die.
Stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and the leading cause of disability in the United States; however, 80% of strokes are preventable. And by learning the F.A.S.T. warning signs for stroke, you just might save a life.
Diana Trupiano RN, MSN, SCRN, Physicians Regional’s Director of Stroke Services, recently shared a story directly related to F.A.S.T. A few years ago, Diana passed out refrigerator magnets outlining the F.A.S.T. basics at a healthcare expo. Not long after, she ran into a woman who had been a magnet recipient. She told Diana that her husband’s life was recently saved because of the information she was able to reference on the new magnet in her home.
Remember when we used to clip and save important articles from the newspaper? Well, this is one of them. Take your own magnet and post the American Stroke Association’s F.A.S.T. stroke warning signs on your refrigerator today. They are:
Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven or lopsided?
Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence.
Time to Call 9-1-1
If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.
Should you or a loved one require stroke care, I am pleased to share that both Physicians Regional-Collier Boulevard and Physicians Regional-Pine Ridge have been designated as Primary Stroke Centers. Additionally, Physicians Regional-Pine Ridge has been designated as a Comprehensive Stroke Center by the Agency for Healthcare Administration (AHCA).
These designations are based on standards set by the AHCA that distinguish hospitals with the infrastructure, staff and training necessary to receive and treat patients with all types of strokes.
As the Market CEO of Physicians Regional Healthcare System, I am exceptionally pleased that two of the area’s finest neurointerventional radiologists, Dr. Mazen K. AbuAwad and Dr. Nasser Razack, have joined our medical staff to lead our Comprehensive Stroke Center.
“With a stroke, you must have the ability to act quickly and efficiently due to the time-critical nature and complexity that exists,” says Nasser Razack, M.D., “This designation from AHCA helps ensure our patients receive the highest level of care while reducing risks.”
According to Dr. AbuAwad, “Having the right team of experts and the technology to quickly evaluate and initiate treatment along with proper post-discharge recovery is essential. It is gratifying for me to have that ability to help patients heal from stroke and restore as much functionality as possible.”
Physicians Regional-Pine Ridge also houses the technologically advanced Artis zee® biplane system, an innovative imaging system that provides physicians detailed three-dimensional views of small blood vessels and soft tissue during angiography and neuroradiology procedures. The imaging system offers stroke patients with faster diagnostic and treatment procedures with reduced radiation exposure.
The Artis zee® biplane system also enables physicians to conduct examinations and procedures in the same room—a scenario that quite often saves time and lives.
In addition to its designation as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, PRHS is also a 3-time recipient of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Associations Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines.
I hope that you and your loved ones never suffer from a stroke. But should you or someone close to you experience the F.A.S.T. symptoms, be sure you call 9-1-1 as soon as possible. The earlier a stroke is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome for the patient.