April 29, 2013
Stroke Risk Profiler
Nearly 800,000 people in the United States will suffer from stroke this year, making it the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S., yet most cannot identify stroke symptoms or risk factors. Lakeview Regional Medical Center hopes to help change that during Stroke Awareness Month this May with the launch of its new Stroke Risk Profiler, an online assessment tool.
A stroke occurs when blood flow to a part of the brain stops. If blood flow stops for longer than a few seconds brain cells can die, causing permanent damage. Blood flow can be restored if a drug called Tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA) is administered within four and a half hours, although not all patients are candidates for this drug, which is why readily knowing the symptoms can result in better outcomes. Two million brain cells die every minute during stroke, increasing risk of permanent brain damage, disability or death.
During Stroke Awareness Month Lakeview Regional Medical Center reminds patients how important is it to know stroke symptoms and risk factors. The Stroke Risk Profiler, an online assessment tool, assists patients of all ages in learning about stroke and the damage it can cause, assess personal risk, identify the risk factors, and actively work toward improving them. The assessment tool can be found under the online tools tab on the Lakeview Regional website home page. Recognizing these symptoms and acting fast to get medical attention can save a life and limit disabilities. If an individual exhibits any of these symptoms call 9-1-1 immediately.
Stroke symptoms include:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of 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
According to a recent study, stroke is becoming more common among younger people due to a rise in risk factors such as diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol. The research revealed that stroke among people under 55 years old made up a greater percentage of all strokes over time, increasing from 13 percent in 1993-94 to 19 percent in 2005. “Nearly three-quarters of all strokes occur in people aged 65 years and older, however, with nearly 25 percent of strokes occurring in people younger than 65, it is essential for individuals to know their level of risk,” states Dr. Ramy El Khoury, Lakeview Stroke Program Director. “When a patient is young the contributing factors can be easily modified with lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise, and our online stroke profiler is an essential tool in helping patients assess and adapt in an effort to reduce future stroke occurrences.”
Lakeview Regional Medical Center acknowledges that strokes are a true emergency, and fast response is key to recovery. The board certified emergency department physicians at Lakeview Regional follow a highly specific, formal protocol that gives stroke patients priority access when seconds count, greatly reducing the potential damage to brain cells.