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Stroke Awareness

What is a stroke?
Stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted. When this occurs, brain cells in the immediate area begin to die due to a lack of oxygen and nutrients needed to function. There are two kinds of stroke. Ischemic strokes are caused by a blood clot that blocks or plugs a blood vessel or artery in the brain. About 80% of all strokes are ischemic. Hemorrhagic strokes are caused by the breaking and bleeding of a blood vessel in the brain.

What are the warning signs of a stroke?

  • numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially in one side of the body.
  • confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
  • trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
  • severe headache with no known cause.

What should you do if you sense someone is having a stroke?

  • Call 911 immediately!
  • Every minute counts: the longer the blood flow is cut off to the brain, the greater the damage.
  • Immediate treatment can save people's lives!

What are the risk factors of Stroke?

  • Risk Factors that Can't be Changed:
    • Age: chance of stroke doubles each decade after 55.
    • Heredity and Race: Risk is greater if a parent, grandparent or sibling has had a stroke. African Americans are at a higher risk.
    • Gender: Stroke is more common in men than women.
    • Prior Stroke or Heart Attack
  • Risk Factors that Can be Treated or Controlled:
    • High Blood Pressure: Most important controllable risk.
    • Cigarette Smoking
    • Diabetes
    • Carotid or Other Artery Disease: The Carotid arteries supply blood to your brain. A blocked artery can cause a stroke.
    • Atrial Fibrillation: Abnormal rhythms of the heart rises the risk of bloot pooling or clotting.
    • Other Heart Diseases
    • Sickle Cell Disease (or Anemia)
    • High Blood Cholesterol
    • Poor Diet
    • Physical Inactivity or Obesity
      *As you can see, many of the above risk factors are interrelated. If you can change or manage just one risk factor, that is a start. It will make the control or management of the other risk factors that much easier to tackle.
  • Other Risk Factors that are not as well-documented:
    • Geographic Location: More common in southeastern US.
    • Socioeconomic Factors: More common among low income people.
    • Alcohol Abuse
    • Drug Abuse

What are we doing at The Chester County Hospital?

The Hospital has earned Joint Commission Disease-Specific Certification as a Primary Stroke Center. This certification process examines pre-hospital Emergency Medical Systems and Emergency Department and inpatient clinical practice guidelines, policies and protocols. With a designation of being a Primary Stroke Center, the Hospital is seen as a "Hospital of Distinction" and recognized for its superior quality and safety measures.

The Hospital has also joined the American Heart Association's Get With The Guidelines For Stroke program to help ensure continuous quality improvement for stroke treatment and prevention. Hospital champions lead, develop and mobilize teams to implement treatment and discharge guidelines for patients. The Hospital achieved the Bronze "Get with the Guidelines" Award from the American Heart Association.

Last Updated: 5/4/2010