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Battling Brain Attack

A stroke occurs in the United States every 40 seconds, which means by the time you finish reading this article, several people will have experienced this potentially life-changing event.

A stroke, also known as a brain attack, occurs when blood flow to the brain stops. Within seconds, brain cells begin to die if proper treatment isn’t taken.

“Strokes are a leading cause of serious, long-term disabilities,” says Mitchel Kruger, M.D., F.A.C.C., cardiologist on the medical staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Denton. “With strokes, seconds matter. If more people learn the warning signs and simple tests for stroke, there is a greater chance that we can can reduce the number of people who suffer the worst stroke impairments.”

Timely treatment is critical for reducing the effects of stroke. Watch for the following signs:

• Sudden confusion or a severe headache

• Sudden numbness or weakness of the face

• Difficulty walking or trouble speaking

If you suspect someone is having a stroke, try following The National Stroke Association’s FAST steps:

Face: Ask the person to smile to reveal muscle weakness in the face.

Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms to check for muscle weakness.

Speech: Ask the person to repeat a sentence and listen for slurred words or the inability to finish the sentence.

Time: If the person shows any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately.

Look at the clock and remember what time the symptoms started. Share the time symptoms started with ambulance personnel or a physician, as that can affect treatment options.

Texas Health Denton recognizes the importance of timely and effective care close to home for stroke victims. The hospital earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for certification as a Primary Stroke Center. The first in Denton County to earn this award, Texas Health Denton was recognized for demonstrating compliance with nationally developed standards for stroke care. The hospital has
also received designation from the Texas Department of State Health Services as a Primary Stroke Facility.

“In stroke care, time is brain,” says Jean E. Range, M.S., R.N., C.P.H.Q., executive director of Disease-Specific Care Certification at The Joint Commission. “By achieving certification as a Primary Stroke Center, Texas Health Denton has demonstrated the ability to provide
effective, timely care to stroke victims that can significantly improve outcomes for stroke patients.”

While you can’t control stroke risk factors such as age, ethnicity and family history, you can take charge of tobacco use, obesity, physical inactivity, and an unhealthy diet high in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium.

“If you have any risk factors for a stroke, talk with your physician about steps you might take for prevention,” says Mitchel Kruger, M.D., F.A.C.C., cardiologist on the medical staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Denton. “With any health condition, but particularly with strokes, knowledge can be the most important prevention.”

Stroke Support Group Meeting

First Tuesday of every month, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Denton

Rio Grande Meeting Room

For more information, call 940-898-7138.

(Spring 2012)

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