There are two main kinds of stroke: An ischemic stroke is one that is caused by a clot that blocks a vessel or artery leading to the brain. A hemorrhagic stroke is when a blood vessel bursts due to high blood pressure.
Every 45 seconds, someone in the United States suffers a stroke, impacting about 750,000 people each year.
Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the nation. But in Santa Barbara County, it ranks in the number two spot—just behind heart disease. Stroke leaves a heavy toll on those who survive: It is the number one cause of disability in adults.
To help the public recognize the signs of stroke, the National Stroke Association developed the “F.A.S.T.” tips. “F” refers to face, as one side of the face droops in a stroke victim. “A” stands for arms and difficulty raising one or both arms, and “S” stands for slurred speech. The “T” stands for time, and emphasizes getting to a hospital immediately in case of stroke.
“The most important thing to take away from the screening is to remember that ‘time is brain,’” Gary told the group. “If you suspect a stroke, call 911 right away. Even if you might have some doubts. Getting help fast is crucial to saving brain tissue. Once it’s gone, you can’t get it back.”
Fae Perry and Katrina Zamyatina, who both work at residential care facilities for the elderly in Santa Barbara, attended a recent stroke screening event and found the information valuable.
“This is a great opportunity to learn about stroke and to share the information with our staff,” Fae said.
“We have a high percentage of stroke survivors in our facilities,” added Katrina. “And having the clinical information about stroke and how to recognize it is very useful.”
• BY MARIA ZATE | ILLUSTRATION BY PEGGY LINDT
Return to Cottage Magazine Fall 2010