Stroke Care

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Stroke Care

In 2013, Centra's Stroke Program was awarded the Get with the Guidelines, Gold Plus Achievement. This means that our stroke team has, for 24 months, achieved 85% or higher adherence on all achievement measures applicable and at least 75% or higher adherence on select quality measures in Stroke.

Centra Lynchburg General Hospital was also the first hospital in central, southside and western Virginia to earn The Joint Commission's National Certificate of Distinction for Primary Stroke Centers. This national certification recognizes centers that make exceptional efforts to foster better outcomes for stroke care and means Centra complies with the highest national standards for safety and quality of care, according to The Joint Commission.

A dedicated neurological intensive care unit at Centra Lynchburg General Hospital provides specialized nursing technologies for patients recovering from significant head injury or head and neck neurosurgical procedures.

What is a stroke?

A stroke, or brain attack, is caused by the sudden loss of blood flow to the brain or bleeding inside the head. A stroke can cause brain cells to die. When brain cells die, the function of body parts they control is impaired or lost. This damage can cause paralysis, speech problems, loss of feeling, memory and reasoning problems, coma, and possibly death. Fortunately, by recognizing the signs of stroke and seeking immediate medical attention you can help reduce your chances of death or disability.

What are the symptoms?

Stroke symptoms are not always painful, but that does not mean stroke is not life threatening. A stroke is an emergency. Immediate medical attention is required. Common symptoms include:

Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arms or legs, especially on one side of the body 
Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech 
Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes 
Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination 
Sudden severe headache with no known cause 

Think Fast

Think FAST is a nationally recognized acronym to help people recognize the signs and symptoms of stroke. If someone meets one of the criteria in Think FAST, call 911 and get assessed by medical professionals.

Think F.A.S.T. is the acronym for:

F:   Facial weakness; drooping on one side

A:  Arm numbness/weakness; arm drift

S:   Speech changes; slurring or omission of words

T:   Time of symptom onset; can you receive treatment within three hours

What are the risk factors?

Risk factors for stokes you cannot change:

  • Age. The risk for stroke increases with age. The risk doubles every decade you are over 55. At least 66% of all people who have a stroke are age 65 or older. 
  • Race. African-Americans and Hispanics have a higher risk than those of other races. Compared with whites, young African-Americans have 2 to 3 times the risk of ischemic stroke, and African-American men and women are more likely to die from strokes. 
  • Gender. Stroke is more common in men than women until age 75, when more women than men have strokes. At all ages, more women than men die of stroke. 
  • Family history. The risk for stroke is greater if a parent, brother, or sister has had a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA). 
  • Prior history of stroke or TIA. 

Risk factors for strokes you can control:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension). High blood pressure is the second most important stroke risk factor after age. 
  • Diabetes. About one-quarter of people with diabetes die of stroke. Having diabetes doubles your risk for stroke because of the circulation problems associated with the disease. 
  • High cholesterol. If you have high cholesterol, it can lead to coronary artery disease and heart attack, which can damage the heart muscle and increase your risk for stroke. 
  • Other heart conditions. Heart problems, such as atrial fibrillation, endocarditis, heart valve conditions, patent foramen ovale, and cardiomyopathy, increase your risk for stroke. 
  • Smoking, including secondhand smoke. 
  • Physical inactivity. 
  • Obesity. 
  • Use of some medications, such as birth control pills–especially by women who smoke or have a history of blood-clotting problems–blood thinners, or steroids. 
  • Heavy use of alcohol. People who drink excessively, especially people who binge drink, are more likely to have a stroke. Binge drinking involves drinking more than 5 drinks in a short period of time. 
  • Use of cocaine and other street drugs.