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Understanding Strokes
Helpful Hints

Time lost is Brain lost.
If you experience any of the following, call 911:

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

Why is time so critical?
The majority of strokes are caused by a blood clot which blocks the blood supply to a part of your brain. A clot dissolving drug called tPA can make the difference between death, severe disability or returning to a normal life. However, tPA must be given within 3 hours. Over 90% of stroke victims wait to call 911 or their Doctor and don't get to the hospital in time to get tPA treatment.

What’s the worst that can happen?
If you call 911 and they think you are having a stroke then you will be taken to the hospital immediately and have treatment that may save your life. If the paramedics say you aren't having a stroke you were wise to be safe, not sorry.

What happens after a stroke?
Some physical and mental problems after a stroke may be: paralysis (on one side or parts of the body), having trouble with speaking, swallowing, seeing, depression, memory loss, emotional upsets, and judgment difficulties. It is important to start rehabilitation immediately to maximize the results. Your recovery plan may include Physical, Speech, Occupational, Recreational and Music Therapy. Therapy that is started in the hospital usually continues once you return home. If you need some modifications to your home in order to be as independent as possible, the Occupational Therapist will identify what is needed. Those arrangements should be made prior to leaving the hospital.

“Did you know that this year, 120,000 women under 45 will have a stroke-far more than the number who will be diagnosed with breast cancer and HIV/AIDS combined” Prevention November 2003.
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