Akron General Medical Center has earned the Gold Seal of Approval ™ for stroke care. The Joint Commission, a prestigious national hospital accrediting organization, has awarded Akron General Medical Center a Primary Stroke Center Certification.
Akron General's stroke program brings to the bedside the best practices which translate into positive outcomes for patients. A perennial leader in offering innovative, life-saving diagnostic and treatment modalities for stroke, Akron General Medical Center participates in clinical trials for acute stroke treatment and by doing so is helping to advance the state of stroke care and make the most innovative treatments for stroke available to area patients.
Stroke: What is my risk?
Know your personal risk factors for stroke and work with your doctor to address and reduce the risk factors you can control, such as smoking, diabetes, obesity, cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Stroke Risk Factors
- 55 years of age or older
- African American in heritage or Hispanic or Asian ethnicity
- Atrial Fibrillation, also called A-Fib (a irregularly, irregular heart beat)
- Carotid Artery blockage or narrowing
- Vertebral artery blockage or narrowing
- Drug use - cocaine or methamphetamines
- High blood pressure
- High LDL ["bad"] cholesterol
- High C- reactive protein level
- High lipoprotein A level
- Little or no physical activity
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Overweight or obese
- Personal or family history of stroke, heart attack
- Smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke
- Transient ischemic attacks, also called TIAs (small strokes)
- Use of estrogen-containing birth control pills or estrogen hormone therapy
- Low vitamin D level
- See your doctor for an annual physical.
- Take prescribed medication and let your doctor know about other medications you are taking.
- Reduce your sodium intake.
- Get a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate activity per day.
- Reduce your alcohol intake (less than 4 drinks/day).
- Take a vitamin D supplement if your vitamin D level is low.
Stroke Warning Signs
Know F.A.S.T. - Courtesy of the American Stroke Association
F - Face Drooping. Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
A - Arm Weakness. Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S - 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?
T - Time to call 911. 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.
What to do if you think someone is having a stroke
Immediately call 9-1-1 or the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) number so an ambulance can be sent. Also, check the time so you'll know when the first symptoms appeared. A clot-busting drug called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) may improve the chances of getting better but only if you get them help right away. New neurointerventional therapies, where a device can be placed into large brain arteries to physically remove the blood clot, offer even greater promise to those suffering from massive strokes.
A TIA or transient ischemic attack is a "warning stroke" or "mini-stroke" that produces stroke-like symptoms. TIA symptoms usually only last a few minutes but, if left untreated, people who have TIAs have a high risk of stroke. Recognizing and treating TIAs can reduce the risk of a major stroke.
Beyond F.A.S.T. — other symptoms you should know include:
Sudden numbness or weakness of the leg
Sudden confusion or trouble 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
By knowing the symptoms and getting to the hospital as quickly as possible, patients have a better chance for more effective treatment and recovery.