Essentia Health Notes Increase in Potential Stroke Patients Driving Themselves to Hospital
Stroke is the 5th highest cause of death and the leading cause of adult disability in the United States. Essentia Health has noticed an increase in potential stroke patients driving a private vehicle to the hospital.
It is important to act fast when symptoms of a stroke occur. A stroke is a medical emergency that requires medical treatment immediately. The effects of a stroke can leave a lasting impact on you for the rest of your life, or take your life all together.
When dealing with a stroke or a potential stroke, the most important thing is time. By driving your own vehicle, you are lengthening the time before you can receive treatment. If you bring yourself to the hospital, you then have to wait for a nurse to diagnose you and confirm that the stroke team needs to be activated, which takes a lot of time away from you being treated as soon as possible.
By calling an ambulance, paramedics can diagnose you on the scene so that way, the stroke team is activated by the time you arrive at the hospital so you can receive treatment immediately.
Once you have noticed the symptoms of a stroke, which could include loss of balance, facial droop or numbness, arm weakness, and difficulty speaking, your time to receive treatment has already begun. The moment symptoms occur, the hospital has four-and-a-half hours to administer medication through an IV.
A stroke or “brain attack” occurs when the flow of blood to the brain is cut off. When this happens, brain cells begin to die and abilities controlled by the affected area of the brain are impacted. These abilities include speech, movement and memory.
Use the acronym BEFAST to spot common signs of stroke. It could save your life or the life of a loved one.
- Balance – Does the person have sudden loss of balance?
- Eyes – Has the person lost vision in one or both eyes?
- Face – Smile. Does one side of the face droop?
- Arms – Raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- Speech – Repeat a simple phrase. Is speech slurred or strange?
- Time – If you observe any of these signs, call 911 right away.
For more information on strokes, you can visit the Essentia Health stroke care page.