May is Stroke Awareness Month

Reduce your risk:

Get regular check-ups, eat healthy, exercise and get enough sleep.

Recognized the sudden signs of stroke FAST:

F – Face drooping

A – Arm weakness

S – Speech difficulty

T – Time to call 911 to get to a certified stroke hospital. Check the time last seen normal.

“If you suspect someone is having a stroke, ask them to smile; if one side of their face droops, that’s a sign of stroke. Similarly, if they try to lift both arms, but one drifts downward, that’s another sign. Slurred speech can also be a symptom. If you observe any of these signs, call 911 immediately. Time is essential to limiting or reversing the impact of stroke,” said David Brown, M.D., program director of Hoag’s Stroke Program.

Ranked among the top 5 percent in the nation, Hoag’s Stroke Program has been awarded the American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines Stroke Gold Plus Performance Achievement for continued high standard of stroke care. Hoag is a Nationally Certified Stroke Center and is designated as a Stroke-Neurology Receiving Center by the Orange County Health Care Agency.

A stroke is caused by a blood clot blocking off an artery to the brain or by bleeding in the brain. It can lead to paralysis, cognitive problems or even death.

That is why time is so essential – as is training. Also a part of the stroke team, Hoag’s emergency department physicians and staff are skilled in recognizing the signs of stroke and following the Stroke Protocol, Code 20. Code 20 provides patients arriving at Hoag’s emergency department presenting with signs of stroke with an initial triage assessment, lab testing, and neuro-imaging within 20 minutes of their arrival, surpassing the national goal of 30 minutes.

“Prompt response is of the essence during stroke as brain cells are dying,” Dr. Brown said. “Calling 911 is the most important thing a patient can do if they think they’re having a stroke.”