Each year, millions of people are impacted by strokes, whether they or
someone close to them has suffered one. Strokes are the
fifth leading cause of death in America, with someone passing away as a result of a stroke every
four minutes and someone suffering from one every
40 seconds. Thankfully, most strokes are preventable.
Frederick Memorial Hospital is taking part in American Stroke Awareness Month. With your help, we
can raise awareness on how to prevent strokes and how to properly treat
those that occur. Join us in spreading the word and saving lives.
What is a Stroke?
A stroke occurs when a person has a “brain attack.” During a stroke, blood flow to an area of the brain is
cut off, depriving brain cells of oxygen. The loss of brain cells results in the loss of
memory and muscle control. A stroke can happen to
anyone at anytime.
Although some individuals are able to recover completely from their stroke,
the majority of people
live with a disability, such as becoming paralyzed on one side of their body or losing the ability
to speak, also known as aphasia.
Who is at Risk?
Everyone is at risk of suffering a stroke, but the risk is greater for
some than it is for others. If you have a
family history of stroke, it increases your chances of having one.
Lifestyle habits, such as poor diet and nutrition, lack of physical activity, and alcohol
and tobacco use, can increase your chance of stroke. Stroke is the
third leading cause of death among women, with
55,000 more women than men suffering a stroke each year. Minorities are more
likely to suffer a stroke at an
earlier age. Health conditions such as
high blood pressure and diabetes are controllable risk factors that sometimes go unnoticed, but with proper
management, can reduce your risk of stroke.
How to Prevent and Identify a Stroke
Eighty percent of strokes are preventable. Recognizing risk factors is the first step
toward avoiding a stroke. While some factors are uncontrollable, there
are others that you can take action now to prevent. Working with a
healthcare provider can help to lower your personal risk. Lowering your blood pressure, exercising
and losing weight, and treating diabetes
all decrease the risk of a stroke.
If you believe that you or someone you know may be suffering from a stroke,
it’s important to act quickly.
FAST is an easy way to remember the warning signs of a potential stroke.
Face: Does one side of the person’s face droop when you ask them to smile?
Arms: After raising both of their arms, does one drift downward?
Speech: Is the person’s speech slurred, or are they struggling to
repeat even simple phrases?
Time: If you notice any of these warning signs, call 911 immediately.
Getting someone who has suffered a stroke to the hospital as quickly as
possible is imperative. The faster that they receive medical attention,
their chances of recovery.
Treating a Stroke
After suffering a stroke, there are several treatment options depending
on the type of stroke. Getting treatment as quickly as possible can
minimize long-term effects and improve the recovery process. If you have an
ischemic stroke, or a stroke caused by a blood clot, drug treatment may be the most effective
tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) is the only drug treatment for acute ischemic stroke approved by the Food
and Drug Administration (FDA). It works to
dissolve the clot and improve blood flow to the brain, and it should be given to a patient
within three hours of the first sign of symptoms.
For some, FDA approved
mechanical devices may be the best treatment option. In these instances, a surgeon inserts
a small device into the patient’s artery and
traps the clot. This helps to
reopen the blocked blood vessel. If you suffer a
hemorrhagic stroke, treatment options include surgical clips, lowering blood pressure, and
surgery to remove a bleeding vessel.
Treatment at Frederick Memorial Hospital
Frederick Memorial Hospital is proud to be a designated
Primary Stroke Center by the
Maryland Institute of Emergency Medical Service Systems (MIEMSS). In 2016, FMH was awarded the
Target Stroke Elite and the
Get With The Guidelines (GWTG) Gold Plus Achievement Award by the
American Heart Association.
Our stroke team is available and ready to go
24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our center features world-class neurosurgeons and neurologists and state-of-the-art
technology for diagnosis and treatment. Patients
work closely with our physical, occupational, and speech therapists on the path to
recovery, while our doctors help both patients and their families achieve
the best possible outcome.
FMH offers a free
support group where stroke survivors and those close to them can discuss their challenges
and be surrounded by others who understand and empathize with them. The
group meets the second Tuesday of every month at
FMH Crestwood from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. To register for our monthly invitation and newsletter,
Help Us Make a Difference
Most people don’t think about how to prevent a stroke until it’s
too late. Join us this May as we support American Stroke Awareness Month
and help to lower the number of families that are impacted by a stroke
each year. To learn more about how to prevent a stroke, treatment, or
how to help, visit