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Stroke Program

Award-Winning Stroke Care at CMC
Stroke is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention. Also known as a brain attack, stroke is the third highest cause of death, right behind heart disease and cancer, and the number one cause of long-term disability. According to the American Stroke Association, an estimated 600,000 Americans suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year, and an estimated 160,000 will die.
At Catholic Medical Center, our team of professionals are dedicated to improving the recovery rates for our stroke patients through rapid response, a team approach, a standardized plan of care, family support, rehabilitation, and ongoing stroke education. CMC’s Stroke Program offers continuity of care from the moment the patient enters our Emergency Department doors all the way through to our in house stroke rehabilitation department or our outpatient specialty neuroscience rehabilitation program.

CMC receives Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Silver Achievement Award. Click here to learn more.

What is a stroke?

Brain attack, more commonly known as a stroke, is caused when a blood vessel is blocked, or bursts, stopping oxygen and nutrients from reaching the brain.

The human brain is very complex. When the brain is working at full capacity, blood flows through its different vessels, giving it the energy supply it needs to control all of our different body functions.

When a stroke occurs, blood has trouble reaching part of the brain. Within a few minutes of an obstruction, brain cells are injured and tissue begins to die in the affected area.

Each stroke is different depending on what part of the brain is injured, how bad the injury is and the person’s general health. Some of the effects of stroke can be:

•    Weakness or paralysis on one side of the body
•    Problems with balance or coordination
•    Problems using language
•    Being unaware of or ignoring parts of the body on one side
•    Pain, numbness or odd sensations
•    Problems with memory, thinking, attention or learning
•    Trouble swallowing
•    Problems with bowel or bladder control
•    Sudden bursts of emotion, such as laughing, crying or anger
•    Depression
•    Being unaware of the effects of the stroke

Knowing the risk factors and recognizing the warning signs of a stroke are very important. By knowing the warning signs and seeking emergency care immediately, you can increase the chance of survival and recovery. If you or a loved one suddenly shows any symptoms, call 911.

Warning Signs and Risk Factors

Stroke is a medical emergency that can be prevented by understanding the risk factors and warning signs. There are two categories of risk factors – those that cannot be managed or changed, and those that can be. Adjusting your lifestyle or environment to address the manageable factors can lower your risk for stroke.

What You Can’t Change

•    Age – as our age goes up, so does our risk for a stroke.
•    Family history of stroke.
•    Gender – males are at a higher risk for stroke than women.
•    Race – African-Americans are at a higher risk for stroke than other groups.
•    Personal history of diabetes.

What You Can Change, Treat or Modify
Seeking treatment or modifying lifestyle can reduce many risk factors for stroke.
•    Know and control your blood pressure
•    Find out if you have atrial fibrillation
•    Control your diabetes
•    Know and manage your cholesterol
•    Eat a low sodium, low-fat diet
•    Control your weight
•    If you smoke, stop
•    If you use alcohol, do so only in moderation
•    Exercise regularly

Warning Signs
The warning signs of stroke or brain attack are:
•    Sudden numbness or weakness of 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

Not all of these warning signs occur in every attack, and sometimes they go away and then return. If you think you may be having a stroke, don’t hesitate. Call 911 immediately.

Evaluation and Treatment

The minutes and hours immediately following the onset of stroke symptoms and warning signs are critical. According to the American Stroke Association only 5 percent of stroke patients arrive at a hospital in time to receive optimum treatment because most people don’t realize they are having a stroke and should seek medical help immediately. In order to increase the chance of survival and recovery, it is vital to educate yourself and your family about the stroke warning signs and obtain emergency care immediately by calling 911.

The Stroke Program at CMC includes a dedicated team of professionals committed to improving the recovery and rehabilitation rate for stroke patients. The team includes:

•    Emergency Room physicians
•    Neurologists
•    Hospitalists (admitting physicians)
•    Intensivits  (in-house) physicians
•    Physiatrists (rehabilitation physicians)
•    Registered Nurses
•    Physical Therapists
•    Speech Pathologists
•    Occupational Therapists
•    Case Managers/Social Workers

The Stroke Program features:
•    Initial emergency care in the hospital’s state-of-the-art Emergency Department
•    Early stabilization of brain and body functions
•    Appropriate referrals
•    Continuity of care through a team approach in our intensive care unit and
     medical/stroke unit
•    Prevention of stroke complications (e.g., pneumonia, bladder infections,
     muscle changes, and skin breakdown).
•    Education
•    Inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation which provides continuity of care and
     follow up with CMC

Resources

Catholic Medical Center encourages everyone to learn more about stroke. The Stroke Program at CMC offers patients, families and friends access to essential educational resources.

The following Web sites also offer valuable information and resources. Keep in mind that no information should replace medical treatment or your doctor’s advice.

American Stroke Association (www.strokeassociation.org):
Extensive information on fighting stroke and heart disease.

National Stroke Association (www.stroke.org):
Extensive stroke education information.

Stroke Awareness Foundation (www.strokeinfo.org):
SAF strives to improve community awareness for stroke and its treatment through advocacy, education and public awareness programs in the community.
Caring for the CommunityCaring for the CommunityWatch how CMC is making an impact in the community by giving back.
The Mom’s PlaceThe Mom’s PlacePrepare for childbirth through our online childbirth education program.

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"The heart of Catholic Medical Center is to provide health, healing and hope in a manner that offers innovative high quality services, compassion, and respect for the human dignity of every individual who seeks or needs our care as part of Christ's healing ministry through the Catholic Church."