When you're having a stroke, every second counts...literally. The longer you ignore the warning signs for stroke, the more you put yourself at risk for lingering disabilities or death.
When it comes to stroke, the magic number is three: stroke patients who are treated within three hours of the start of symptoms are more likely to recover with little or no disability. The three-hour clock starts ticking the minute you begin having symptoms, not when you come into the ER. If you wait at home for an hour, your window for effective treatment drops to two hours or less. Add the time needed for a full evaluation to determine the type of stroke and where it's located, and you don't have time to sit at home wondering if your symptoms will go away.
If you experience any of the following stroke symptoms, or if you recognize them in someone else, call 911 immediately!
- Sudden numbness or 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
Also, check the time so you'll know when the first symptoms appeared. It's important to take immediate action. If given within three hours of the start of symptoms, a clot-busting drug called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) may reduce long-term disability for the most common type of stroke.
You've called 911...what next?
CAMC is home to the only accredited Primary Stroke Center in Charleston certified by DNV-GL Healthcare USA, Inc. The stroke team:
- Is notified by EMS crews if a potential stroke patient is on the way
- Evaluates patients within 10 minutes of arrival
- Identifies treatment options and gets them under way within one hour of arrival
The CAMC Stroke Center, located at General Hospital, is an interdisciplinary program specializing in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of stroke and stroke-related disorders. The center brings together physicians and medical experts from multiple specialties, including neurology, neurosurgery, radiology, emergency medicine, pharmacy and medical rehabilitation to provide rapid, comprehensive evaluation and management of stroke patients.
What is Stroke?
Stroke is a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. It is the No. 3 cause of death in the United States, behind diseases of the heart and cancer. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so it starts to die.
Source: American Stroke Association