MAKING STRIDES AGAINST STROKE
At Reading Hospital, we know every second counts when you’re having a stroke. That’s why we utilize rapid response treatment to minimize the chance of permanent damage and offer the greatest chance for a full recovery. As one of Healthgrades® America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Stroke Care, Reading Hospital provides a level of care that’s ranked in the nation’s top 2% — that means our stroke specialists have the expertise to treat even the most complex stroke patients. And, as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center, we administer life-saving tPA to break up blood clots quickly and effectively. So whenever a stroke strikes, you can be confident knowing you’ll always receive the most timely, advanced care in the region.
Am I at Risk for Stroke?
According to the American Stroke Association (ASA), 80% of all strokes are preventable. Knowing, understanding, and managing what puts you at risk will decrease your chances of experiencing a stroke. These key risk factors include:
• Your age, sex, and race – Women, people over the age of 55, and African-Americans have a higher stroke risk1
• Family history – If your parent, grandparent, sister, or brother has experienced a stroke1
• Smoking – Nicotine and carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke can damage the cardiovascular system, leading to stroke1
• High blood pressure and/or cholesterol – High blood pressure is the leading cause of stroke, and high cholesterol can cause blood clots that lead to stroke1
• Diabetes – Many people with diabetes also have high blood pressure and cholesterol, and while these conditions are treatable, they still increase your risk1
• Heart disease – People with coronary heart disease or heart failure are at higher risk of stroke than people with healthy hearts1
• If you’ve had a prior stroke
• If you experience TIAs (transient ischemic attacks) – Sometimes called “mini-strokes,” where signs and symptoms occur, but go away within a short period of time
• Carotid bruit – An abnormal sound heard through a stethoscope that indicates a partially blocked carotid artery
1 American Stroke Association, Understanding Stroke Risk
B.E.F.A.S.T. if You Notice These Symptoms
Receiving treatment at Reading Hospital’s Advanced Primary Stroke Center as soon as possible from the start of your symptoms can greatly reduce the risk of permanent damage from stroke. And remembering to B.E.F.A.S.T. can help you save precious seconds that can significantly impact outcomes. Being able to recognize these key symptoms in others is crucial:
• Balance – Does the person have a sudden loss of balance?
• Eyes – Has the person lost vision in one or both eyes?
• Face – Does the person’s face look uneven?
• Arms – Is one arm (or leg) hanging down? Or weak?
• Speech – Is the person’s speech slurred? Does the person have trouble speaking or seem confused?
• Time – Call 9-1-1 now!
Remember: Stroke is a medical emergency. Call 9-1-1 even if these symptoms go away.
Cindy was laughing with her son and daughter-in-law after enjoying an afternoon at the playground with her grandchildren. But when laughter and conversation suddenly turned into gibberish, Cindy’s son knew something wasn’t right. Because Cindy had experienced mini-strokes in the past, her son knew it was critical to get her to our Advanced Primary Stroke Center as soon as possible. Upon her arrival, our stroke team quickly administered clot-busting tPA medication to break down the clot in Cindy’s brain, followed by a minimally invasive procedure to remove the clot for good. What happened next gave Cindy a new lease on life — read how here.