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St. Elizabeth's Hospital Urges Community To Be Aware Of Stroke Symptoms During May

Belleville, IL – May is National Stroke Awareness Month. In order to help the community understand the risk factors and symptoms of stroke, a leading cause of death and serious long-term disability in the United States, St. Elizabeth’s Hospital encourages the public to learn the risk factors and recognize the symptoms of stroke.

“Time is crucial in the treatment of stroke, as on average, every 40 seconds someone in the United States has a stroke and roughly every four minutes someone dies from a stroke,” said Patty Gillen, MSN, RN, NE-BC, Stroke Coordinator. “The earlier a stroke is recognized and the patient receives medical attention, the greater chance of recovery.”

Strokes occur when a blood vessel carrying oxygen and vital nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or ruptures. When this occurs, part of the brain is deprived of blood and oxygen, destroying millions of valuable nerve cells within minutes.

To ensure the public gets high-level and quick care for a possible stroke, St. Elizabeth’s has a stroke telemedicine program in collaboration with St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, a sister Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) facility.

Telemedicine is the ability to transmit medical information using a remote device with video and audio technology. The telemedicine robot can be moved to any bedside within the hospital. When a potential stroke patient arrives, staff will alert an on-call expert for immediate consultation through videoconferencing. The neurologist, located at St. John’s, has the ability to interact face-to-face with the patient and their family to make
an immediate diagnosis.

Stroke is a leading cause of death and serious, long-term disability in the United States.1 According to the American Stroke Association, approximately 795,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke each year, and 87 percent of these are ischemic strokes. An acute ischemic stroke occurs when an obstruction, such as a blood clot, blocks blood flow to the brain. The obstruction deprives the brain of blood and oxygen,
destroying valuable nerve cells in the affected area within minutes. The resulting damage can lead to significant disability including paralysis, speech problems and emotional difficulties.

“If you suspect a stroke, remember the word FAST – F-A-S-T,” said Gillen. “F is for face - is your face drooping? A is for arms – can you lift both arms? S is for speech – are you slurring your words and T is for time, call 9- 1-1 immediately because with stroke, time is brain.”

The primary stroke symptoms include:

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

Treatment may be available if you get to the emergency room immediately upon

recognition of stroke symptoms. Leading a healthy lifestyle, including lowering risk

factors like high blood pressure and weight, can also help reduce your stroke risk. For

more information about stroke, visit www.strokeawareness.com.


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