Recognize Strokes • Save Lives
A stroke can be a terrifying experience for both patients and their loved ones. This debilitating condition can strike suddenly, and if not treated in time, can have life-changing consequences.
Beginning with a presidential proclamation in 1989, National Stroke Awareness Month increases public awareness of strokes — including symptoms and treatment — and reduces the risk of death from strokes. Learn more about what causes strokes and how you can save a life by recognizing the early warning signs.
What is a stroke?
According to the American Stroke Association, a stroke occurs when a vessel carrying blood and nutrients to the brain either ruptures or is clotted. When the blood and oxygen inside the vessel fails to reach its destination, brain cells die. A stroke can come in two different forms:
- Ischemic stroke — Occurs when a clot obstructs the flow of blood to the brain.
- Hemorrhagic stroke — When a vessel ruptures and blood is unable to reach the brain.
- Additionally, a transient ischemic attack (TIA) — also known as a “mini-stroke” — is caused by a temporary clot.
Strokes can be caused by numerous factors — some preventable.
Some factors that can be controlled include:
- Atrial fibrillation
- Carotid artery disease
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Peripheral artery disease
- Physical inactivity
- Sickle cell anemia
Several uncontrollable factors can also increase your likelihood of a stroke.
Risk factors not in your control can include:
- Age — The likelihood of stroke increases for both men and women with age.
- Family history — Certain genetic conditions may increase your risk of stroke.
- Gender — Studies show women are more prone to stroke than men, likely because of pregnancy, history of preeclampsia, eclampsia, or gestational diabetes, oral contraceptive use, or post-menopausal hormone therapy.
- Personal history of stroke, TIA, or heart attack.
- Race — Studies have shown Black Americans are at a higher risk of dying from strokes.
What are stroke symptoms?
When a stroke occurs, recognizing the symptoms early can be lifesaving. The American Stroke Association recommends using the letters F.A.S.T. to spot a stroke.
- F — Face drooping.
- A — Arm weakness.
- S — Speech difficulty or slurred speech.
- T — Time to call 911.
Other symptoms may include confusion or trouble talking or understanding speech, a headache with no known cause, loss of sight in one or both eyes, numbness or weakness of the face, arm, leg, or on one side of the body, or trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance.
How can Culbertson help with strokes?
As an Acute Stroke Ready Hospital, Culbertson Memorial Hospital provides expert stroke care needed when time is critical. This means the Illinois Department of Public Health has designated Culbertson as capable of providing emergent stroke care and directs EMS providers to transport acute stroke patients to our Emergency Department. Additionally, Neurologist Dr. Daniel Kimple provides diagnostic services for patients suffering potential symptoms, as well as follow-up care for those recovering from a stroke. Dr. Kimple sees patients on the second and third Tuesdays each month at the Culbertson Specialty Clinic. To schedule an appointment, call (217) 322-5271.
If do you suffer from a stroke, the Culbertson Swing Bed Program can provide the compassionate nursing care you need to recover, ensuring you can return home when you’re well enough. Culbertson Therapy Services can help improve your function and mobility after a stroke through occupational, physical, and speech therapy, ensuring some level of independence as you recover. Contact Therapy Services at (217) 322-5286 for more information.