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Help Save a Life During American Stroke Awareness Month


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.

This May, 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, the better 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 option. Currently, 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, call 240-566-4884.

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