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Have you or your loved one suffered a stroke, or are you interested in avoiding a stroke?
Discover how the Primary Stroke Center at Jordan Valley Medical Center and Pioneer Valley Hospital will provide high quality care close to home. (American Stroke Association based guideline care). View the Top 10 things you should know about stroke.


Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

A Transient Ischemic Attack or TIA is often referred to as a” mini stroke”. It is a warning sign that there may be a stroke to come. A TIA does not leave lasting impairment and does not permanently injure brain cells as can occur in a stroke. A transient ischemic attack is caused by a lack of blood flow to the brain, which causes that part of the brain to become “stunned” and non-functional. The difference between a TIA and a real stroke is that the body’s own internal clot buster is able to remove the clot before it leaves permanent damage to the brain cells. With a stroke, the body’s clot buster is overwhelmed and will need help from the IV clot buster, tPA- in a timely manner for the best chance of recovery.

A TIA is a medical emergency. During the attack, a person cannot predict if the stroke symptoms will resolve or if the may cause permanent damage. People suffering a stroke or TIA need emergency care. This typically begins with calling 911. The person should then be taken to a stroke ready hospital that can provide national guideline based care to reduce the chance of permanent brain injury.

The bad news: For a true TIA, the chance of it becoming a stroke within the following 2 days is nearly 10%. The rate of a TIA becoming a stroke over the following month is 4-20%.

The good news: The majority of patients diagnosed with a TIA are actually misdiagnosed. If someone thinks that you have had a TIA, you need to see a neurologist. Your neurologist will listen to your story and determine if you had a TIA or whether your symptoms indicate a different diagnosis, including seizure or headache. The proper diagnosis will allow you to predict and better manage future events, ultimately decreasing your risk of future TIA or stroke.

Top 10 things you need to know about stroke

  1. STROKE is a sudden lack of blood flow to the brain. When blood flow does not reach areas of the brain, that part of brain will stop working and may become damaged.
  2. Historically, the word “stroke” comes from the idea that God “strikes” a person down and gives her/him sudden neurologic symptoms such as face or arm weakness, speech abnormalities, and in some cases a severe headache.
  3. A stroke can be caused by the blockage of a blood vessel—an ischemic stroke, OR be caused by the rupturing of a blood vessel—a hemorrhagic stroke.
  4. Stroke is the number 1 cause of disability. Nearly 800,000 people will suffer a stroke in the United States this year. Due to recent advances, it has dropped from the 3rd to the 4th largest cause of death.
  5. Made to choose, patients would rather have a stomach bleed or a heart attack, than have a stroke. This is why it is so important to prevent and then properly treat a stroke when it occurs.
  6. Each part of the brain has a specialized function. Depending on the location of the stroke, a person will have different symptoms and can expect a different amount of recovery time.
  7. Stroke risk can be minimized after working with your physician to:
    • Optimize blood pressure
    • Control Diabetes
    • Adding a daily aspirin (ask your doctor)
    • Treating heart arrhythmias
    • Exercising 4 times a week
    • Eating a healthy diet and controlling cholesterol
    • There may be other factors to manage based on your personal risk.
  8. New insights are being made into stroke and dementia with many of the same risk factors between the two diseases as noted in #7. A stroke prematurely ages the brain. Preventing a stroke will also keep you smarter.
  9. Research shows that care guided by a specially trained stroke doctor improves patient outcomes. Stroke care is best optimized by a multidisciplinary group approach. This team should include stroke knowledgeable first responders, ER physicians, hospital based doctors and intensive care physicians. There is greater improvement in patient rehabilitation with well trained nurses, therapists (speech, occupational, and physical), and rehabilitation physicians.
  10. Emergency stroke care may involve blood pressure control and in some cases giving the clot buster tPA. Time is of the essence in emergency stroke care, TIME LOST IS BRAIN LOST.

Remember, the symptoms of stroke: FAST

Time… is of the essence-call 911 FAST!


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