2008-05-30 / Community

Peninsula Hospital Center Hosts Stroke Screenings

Janet McGowan, RN and Emma Hopkins, RN, Account Manager, Visiting Nurse Services of New York, team up to perform stroke screenings. Kathleen Lawless, seated, was eager to find out her stroke risks. Janet McGowan, RN and Emma Hopkins, RN, Account Manager, Visiting Nurse Services of New York, team up to perform stroke screenings. Kathleen Lawless, seated, was eager to find out her stroke risks. Stroke Screening was held last week at Peninsula Hospital Center, affiliate of the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, as part of the Hospital Center's Stroke Awareness Month activities. Members of the community were invited and encouraged to participate in the various screenings that were available. Those who participated had their family medical histories taken, were given cholesterol tests, had their blood pressure taken and their carotid bruits tested. The overall theme behind Stroke Screening Day was that although strokes do happen, many strokes can be prevented.

Those at greatest risk for a stroke are people who have stroke warning signs and those who have had a previous stroke. Stroke warning signs include: sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg (especially on one side of the body), sudden confusion, trouble speaking or 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.

For a person exhibiting symptoms of a stroke, every minute without treatment costs the victim 1.9 million brain cells. As each second passes, more of their brain atrophies. Over 700,000 Americans suffer a stroke each year, and about 150,000 of them die, making stroke the third leading cause of death in the United States. For the survivors, life can be forever changed. Problems with movement can turn once-simple tasks such as feeding and dressing themselves into major challenges. Problems with speech and memory can force formerly productive workers into early retirement. The good news is that early medical care at the first symptoms of a stroke can greatly help the outcome. Doctors have many techniques at their disposal, including surgery, aspirin, blood thinners, and clot-busting drugs that can stop some strokes in progress. The earlier the diagnosis, the greater the options. But, someone suffering a stroke may not be in the position to help himself whether by denying the symptoms of a stroke or by being physically or mentally unable to reach a phone to dial 911.

The National Stroke Association encourages everyone concerned with a possible stroke to utilize the "Act F.A.S.T. Test". By knowing how to quickly evaluate the Face, Arms, and Speech of the person in question, you can help that person to get the emergency care needed for the best possible results. If you witness what you think may be a stroke, call 911 immediately. Anyone interested in learning more about stroke prevention or Peninsula Hospital Center's Traumatic Brain Injury Unit can call 718-734-2383 for additional information.

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