Did you know that in Washington State, stroke is the third leading cause of death? Or that Washington has the 13th highest rate of stroke death in the U.S.?
Even though stroke is a leading cause of death and disability, many Americans do not think of stroke as a major health concern.
Endovascular neurosurgeon Ruth Thiex, MD, PhD, is the medical director for the neurosurgery and stroke programs at Providence Regional. Dr. Thiex says, “Stroke rates are rising sharply in younger adults because of lifestyle choices. If we don’t control the risk factors — obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes — we’re going to have a wave of strokes and cardiovascular diseases in the next 10-20 years.” She says this is an excellent time for everyone to review the facts about stroke. “Knowing what signs to watch for and what to do could save you, or someone you love.”
“Time is of the essence when it comes to stroke,” Dr. Thiex says. “Calling 911 at the first sign of stroke is vital. Many times people feel ‘not right’ and think going to bed will make them feel better without considering the symptoms of stroke (see F.A.S.T below). But with stroke, delaying care affects the outcome,” says Dr. Thiex. “We tell our patients when it comes to stroke, ‘time is brain.’ The less time it takes to get specialized stroke care; the better the outcome.”
Leading-edge stroke care
Providence Regional Medical Center is the only hospital from Seattle to the Canadian border certified as a Primary Stroke Center by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, as well as by the Joint Commission, the nation’s largest independent healthcare evaluation organization. Providence’s Primary Stroke Center is made up of a seasoned team of more than 60 stroke experts, including neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuroradiologists, rehab specialists, nurses, and therapists, providing 24/7 services. Providence treats more stroke patients than any other hospital in Washington.
Act F-A-S-T when a stroke strikes
- Face - Does the person have a facial droop? Ask them to smile.
- Arms - Is an arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms.
- Speech - Is the speech slurred? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence.
- Time - Time for help. Call 9-1-1!
Stroke warning signs
- Severe headache
- Confusion, disorientation or memory loss
- Numbness, weakness or clumsiness of an arm, leg or side of the face
- Abnormal or slurred speech
- Loss of vision
- Poor balance or lack of coordination
Stroke risk factors
- High blood pressure
- History of heart disease
- High cholesterol
- Use of oral contraceptives (birth control pills)
New Stroke Support Group
If you are a stroke survivor, family member or caregiver, you are invited to join the new Stroke Support Group which meets the second Friday of every month.