These stroke tips from Pueblo’s Parkview Medical Center could save lives
Someone in the United States suffers a stroke roughly every 40 seconds, Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo has said as the United States marks National Stroke Awareness Month in May.
Parkview last year cared for 469 patients who had an ischemic stroke, caused by a blocked artery; hemorrhagic stroke, caused by a leaking blood vessel, or a transient ischemic attack, often called a TIA or mini-stroke, in which a person has symptoms like those of a stroke, lasting only a few minutes.
Throughout the month of May, the medical center is highlighting tests and care it provides to stroke patients, and educating Puebloans about the symptoms and causes of the leading cause of disability in the United States and a top cause of death.
The medical center has a stroke care team that guides patients through tests including CT scans, MRI, ultrasound, cardiac monitoring and labs. The team also helps patients to obtain expert consultation with neurologists, neurosurgeons, cardiologists, vascular surgeons and sometimes the palliative team.
Parkview also offers a support group for stroke survivors and their caregivers.
Know the symptoms
Parkview is using Stroke Awareness Month to spread awareness of the common symptoms of stroke — numbness and tingling in an arm, or stumbling over words, for instance.
Stroke symptoms often start small, but progress to more severe symptoms of paralysis or being unable to speak, swallow or see, the hospital said.
“The quicker you can identify someone is having a stroke, the better chance for a more favorable outcome for the stroke patient due to earlier therapy,” it said, noting that two million neurons die every minute during a stroke.
Know the risk factors
High blood pressure is a leading cause of stroke. Other common medical conditions that can increase the chances of having a stroke are high cholesterol, coronary artery disease, diabetes, obesity and sickle cell disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says on its website.
Studies have suggested that the number of strokes in the U.S. could more than double by 2050, as Americans live longer, an article published last year in the journal “Stroke” said.
The burden of stroke “in Hispanic/Latino individuals — the fastest growing ethnic group in the United States — is particularly elevated at younger ages, leading to early disability and substantial direct and indirect costs,” the article said.
The population of Pueblo is majority Hispanic, according to Data USA.
Recent studies have shown that lifestyle choices — including tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption, eating too much salt or fat, and not getting enough exercise — increase the risk of having a stroke. Changing habits and adopting a healthier lifestyle can reduce the chances of suffering a stroke.
Parkview nurses help to educate patients on diet, exercise, blood pressure management, diabetes management, smoking cessation, and other risk factors for stroke, said Tiffany Maldonaldo, a registered nurse at Parkview.
Stroke steals ‘little things’ many take for granted
Stroke sufferers often lose the ability to do “the little things that make life worth living,” Maldonaldo said.
“Stroke steals a person’s ability to read a bedtime story to their grandchild, enjoy a meal with family and friends, or go for a walk in the beautiful spring weather,” she said.
“Stroke can steal the little things that we take for granted like being able to bathe independently, speak exactly what’s on our mind or drink a warm cup of coffee.”
Quick action offers the best chance for recovery, Parkview said, urging everyone to learn to learn the signs of a stroke and call 911 immediately if they recognize them in themselves or others.
Signs of a stroke
Parkview has listed stroke symptoms and the potentially life-saving final tip to produce the acronym BE FAST — a reminder that a speedy response is of the essence to ensure the best possible health outcome when someone might be having a stroke.
- Balance: Sudden loss of balance or dizziness
- Eyes: Sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes
- Face: Facial drooping or numbness on one side; lopsided smile
- Arm/Leg: Weakness or numbness in one arm or leg
- Speech: Slurred or incoherent speech
- Time: Call 911 immediately
For more information on Parkview’s stroke care services, contact Tiffany Maldonaldo at 719-584-4047 or go to www.parkviewmc.com/care-treatment/brain/stroke-care/.
More information about the support group is available at 719-584-4677.