May is National Stroke Awareness Month

Washington County Hospital (WCH) is teaming up with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to bring awareness about Strokes to our community during the month of May.  You may ask, “What is a Stroke?”  Per the CDC, a stroke can happen in one of two ways: Ischemic or Hemorrhagic.  An Ischemic stroke is when the blood supply to the brain is blocked and a Hemorrhagic stroke when a blood vessel in the brain bursts.  Either of these events causes brain tissue to die, which can lead to brain damage, disability, and death.

How do you know if you are risk for a stroke?

Strokes can happen to anyone at any age.  There are numerous factors that can increase your risk such as, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity.  Other risks include smoking and too much alcohol consumption.  Per the CDC, approximately 800,000 people in the United States have a stroke annually.

What are the signs and symptoms of a stoke?

The easiest way to remember the most common signs of a stroke is with the acronym F.A.S.T.

F = Face drooping: Ask a person to smile. Does one side droop?

A = Arm weakness: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S = Speech difficulty:  Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Are the words slurred?

T = Time to call 9-1-1:  If the person shows any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately. Stroke treatment can begin in the ambulance.

Some other common signs of a stroke might include, sudden dizziness, sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes, a sudden severe headache with no known cause, sudden confusion, or sudden numbness to face, arm, or legs.

How is a stroke diagnosed and treated?

Your doctor can perform several different diagnostic tests, which include, computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).  If you have had a stroke you may receive emergency care, treatment to help prevent another stroke, and rehabilitation to help regain any skills you may have lost.

Please visit the CDC website: for more information about stokes symptoms and prevention.