Stroke affects 500,000 individuals a year and is the leading cause of disability in older adults. Stroke is sometimes referred to as a “Brain Attack” and occurs when there is a sudden disruption of the blood flow to the brain either by blood vessel blockage or a burst artery. Brain cells that are deprived of blood either become damaged or die. Those that die do not regain function and cause disability. The area of the brain that has been affected determines what problems a person has.
The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s F.A.S.T. campaign can help you recognize a stroke:
Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
Time to call 9-1-1 – If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.
Magee has a number of support groups for stroke patients, their families, and loved ones to meet and talk with specially-trained stroke survivors and their families. These knowledgeable Stroke Peer Mentors and Family Peer Mentors can offer you needed information, resources, reassurance, and helpful, practical tips. Meetings are held at Magee Rehabilitation at 5:30 PM on the third Wednesday of each month. Individual mentoring may also be arranged.
For more information on Stroke Support, call 215-587-3411 or email SDibeler@MageeRehab.org.