Maimonides expert: Every second counts in stroke treatment
Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S., according to Dr. Steven Rudolph, director of the Jaffe Stroke Center at Maimonides Medical Center, and is the leading cause of disability in adults.
That’s why it’s vital to get medical help for a stroke victim immediately, Rudolph said. “Every second counts in the race to identify and treat stroke. The sooner we can make a diagnosis and start treatment, the more we improve our chances of minimizing damage to your brain,” he said.
Rudolph, who leads a team of medical professionals trained to deal with strokes, said a stroke can take place at any time and that people should become familiar with the warning signs. “Everyone should take a few minutes to learn the warning signs of stroke so that if you suspect someone may be experiencing this medical emergency, you can help by calling 911 right away,” he said.
The National Stroke Association has a tool to help people remember stroke symptoms and respond quickly. It is the acronym FAST, which stands for Face, Arms, Speech and Time.
Here are a few ways to determine if someone is having a stroke:
- Ask the person to smile. One side of the face might be drooping
- When raising both arms, one arm might drift downward.
- If asked to repeat a simple sentence, the person’s speech is slurred or unclear.
If the person has one or more of these signs, Rudolph said it’s time to call 911 immediately.
There are things that an individual can do to reduce the risk of a stroke, according to Rudolph, who said one key is to be aware of the risk factors, including medical history and personal habits. “Prevention is still our most effective weapon – some risks can be reduced by living a healthier, more active lifestyle,” he said.
- Have blood pressure checked regularly.
- Eat a varied and balanced diet that relies heavily on vegetables, whole grains, fish, lean meats and fruit.
- Keep weight under control.
- Monitor blood cholesterol.
- Get moderate exercise on a regular basis (at least two and a half hours per week).
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
- Quit smoking.
The Jaffe Stroke Center at Maimonides was recently named to the American Stroke Association’s Elite Plus Honor Roll. Along with Rudolph, the stroke center team is led by nurse practitioners Holly Morhaim Jill Slater, both of whom play important roles in patient care and planning, hospital officials said.
The stroke center is a dedicated unit located within Maimonides Medical Center at 4802 10th Ave. For more information, visit www.maimonidesmed.org.
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