Primary Stroke Center Certification
Statistically speaking, a stroke is one of the leading causes of death in the United States and is experienced by about 800,000 people each year. Strokes can happen at any age; however, 75 percent occur in people over the age of 65.
United Regional is proud to have achieved the distinction as a Joint Commission Primary Stroke Center Certification. The Joint Commission’s Certificate of Distinction for Primary Stroke Centers recognizes centers that make exceptional efforts to foster better outcomes for stroke care. Achievement of certification signifies that the services we provide have the critical elements to achieve long-term success in improving outcomes. It is the best signal to our community that the quality care we provide is effectively managed to meet the unique and specialized needs of stroke patients. United Regional serves as the hub of the area’s Stroke Network.
United Regional’s Stroke Program was developed to increase public awareness of stroke, its risk factors and warning signs. Stroke is one of the leading causes of death in the United States and of adult disability, but most people do not even know they are at risk. Many do not understand the prevalence of the disease or understand what the risk factors are for stroke.
In addition to a broad educational campaign, United Regional focuses on clinical efforts to reduce the time it takes to diagnose a stroke and be more aggressive in treating stroke.
Know the warning signs of stroke
A stroke is an emergency medical condition that can be fatal. However, with the proper knowledge, lifestyle management and treatment programs, stroke survivors can overcome impairments and reduce the possibility of future strokes occurring.
Just like a heart attack, a stroke is an emergency. According to the American Stroke Association, when the brain is deprived of the blood and oxygen it needs, brain cells in the deprived areas stop working and can die within minutes. As a result, parts of the body that are controlled by these brain cells have difficulty functioning properly, and in some cases cannot function at all. Once brain cells are dead, they cannot be regenerated, making the physical effects of a stroke permanent.
Seeking immediate medical attention after stroke symptom onset is critical, in order to restore blood flow and reduce the number of brain cells lost.
The warning signs for stroke are:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- Sudden loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
Do not ignore warning signs, even if they are only temporary. Timing is very important in treating a stroke. To reduce risk of disability, an emergency medical doctor must treat you within 4½ hours of the onset of your symptoms. Remember, time is brain, if you experience any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1.
Know your risk factors for stroke
Research has shown that up to 80 percent of strokes are preventable with awareness and management of risk factors. Those risk factors are:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Poor diet
- Lack of exercise
- Alcohol consumption
- Illegal drug consumption
Diseases such as coronary artery disease, diabetes, certain blood diseases, and sleep disorders can also increase your risk for a stroke.