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Simple Test Can Help Detect Stroke Symptoms
05/24/2010

CLEBURNE, Texas — Every 45 seconds, someone in the United States suffers a stroke. According to the American Heart Association, stroke is the third largest cause of death, ranking behind heart disease and all forms of cancer.

Strokes happen when blood flow to the brain stops. Within minutes, brain cells can begin to die if proper treatment isn’t taken. The person might experience sudden confusion or have a severe headache. They might have sudden numbness or weakness of the face, difficulty walking or trouble speaking. If you suspect that someone is having a stroke there are a few steps to follow in preventing further damage.

According to The National Stroke Association, a simple test of acting FAST can help. Individuals should take the following steps:

  • Face. Ask the person to smile to see if there is muscle weakness in their face.
  • Arms. Ask the person to raise both arms to see if there is muscle weakness.
  • Speech. Ask the person to repeat a sentence and listen for slurred words or if they can 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 start with a physician as that will impact treatment options.

“Strokes are a leading cause of serious, long-term disabilities,” said Dr. Donna Ivey, an emergency room physician on the medical staff at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Cleburne. “With strokes, seconds matter. The more people that learn the warning signs and simple tests for stroke, the greater the chances are that we can reduce the number of people who suffer the worst impairments after a stroke.”

While some risk factors for stroke are beyond your control, like heredity, those resulting from lifestyle or environment can be modified with the help of a healthcare professional. The best way to lower the risk for stroke is to treat and manage related health problems.

According to the American Heart Association, some manageable risk factors include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Unhealthy diet high in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium
  • Physical inactivity and obesity

“If you have any risk factors for a stroke, it’s best to talk with your physician to see if there are steps to take for prevention,” said Ivey. “With any health condition, but particularly strokes, knowledge can be the most important prevention.”

For more information, visit stroke.org or americanheart.org.

About Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Cleburne
Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Cleburne is a 137-bed acute-care, full-service hospital that has served Cleburne and the Johnson County area since 1986. The hospital’s services include surgery, women’s services, urology, orthopedics and ear, nose and throat care. Texas Health Cleburne, an affiliate of the faith-based, nonprofit Texas Health Resources system, has been recognized with the 2007 Premier/Carescience Select Practice National Quality Award. For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit TexasHealth.org/Cleburne.

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health care delivery systems in the United States and the largest in North Texas in terms of patients served. Texas Health’s system of 13 hospitals includes Texas Health Harris Methodist, Texas Health Arlington Memorial, Texas Health Presbyterian, and an organization for medical research and education. Texas Health is a partner in eight additional hospitals or surgery centers. Texas Health Physicians Group provides a variety of models for engagement with physicians. Texas Health Partners is a joint venture development and management company owned by Texas Health Resources. Texas Health MedSynergies is a joint venture that offers physicians a range of office management and other business services to support their practices. Texas SingleSource Staffing is a joint venture designed to help Texas Health hospitals improve patient care by recruiting and retaining quality nurses and allied healthcare professionals. For more information about Texas Health Resources, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit TexasHealth.org.

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