June 17, 2022

Stroke Safety with Kline Galland’s Bridget Whelan

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds. When a stroke happens, minutes count. Health systems are prepared to treat strokes if patients can get to the hospital quickly.

To help everyone stay safe at home, Bridget Whelan, an ARNP with Kline Galland’s Community Based Services (CBS) team, answered some questions about how to detect a stroke and what to do if you think someone is having one so that it can be treated as quickly as possible.  

What is a stroke?
A stroke is a life-threatening medical condition causing damage to a part of the brain when the blood supply is disrupted. There are two kinds of strokes. An ischemic stroke occurs when blood clots or other particles block the blood vessels to the brain. A hemorrhagic stroke happens when an artery in the brain leaks blood or ruptures

What are some of the most common signs someone is having a stroke?
There are a number of common symptoms. The most important thing to note is that all of these symptoms are SUDDEN:

  • Trouble speaking and understanding what others are saying. 
  • Paralysis or numbness of the face, arm or leg on one side of the body. 
  • Problems seeing in one or both eyes
  • Trouble walking/loss of balance
  • Severe headache
  • Additional, lesser-known warning signs of a stroke include headache, dizziness or vertigo, and nausea/vomiting

Can you explain the acronym F.A.S.T. and explain why it’s important?
FAST is a tool to help us recognize the most common stroke symptoms and find help as soon as possible. The acronym stands for:

  • F (Face): Does the person have facial drooping? Ask them to smile.
  • A (Arms): Does the person have arm weakness? Ask them to lift both arms.
  • S (Speech): Does the person have slurred speech? Ask them to repeat a short sentence.
  • T (Time to get help): Call 9-1-1 immediately.

What should I do if someone is having a stroke? Why is it important to get care as soon as possible? 
If you’ve determined someone is having a stroke, it is critical for you to call 9-1-1 ASAP and stay with them to keep them safe. It’s important to get them to the hospital quickly because immediate treatment may minimize the long-term effects of a stroke. 

What are the risk factors for stroke?
The most common risk factors for stroke include: 

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • High-fat diet
  • Smoking 
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Age – risk increases with aging
  • Strokes tend to be more common in women

If you’d like to learn more about Kline Galland’s CBS program, please visit www.klinegalland.org/care-options/community-based-services/ or call us at 206-725-8800. Please remember, in the event of a medical emergency, always call 9-1-1 immediately.