On October 29, Irving-based CHRISTUS Health observed World Stroke Day by emphasizing the importance of stroke education, awareness of symptoms, and prevention strategies. Strokes, the fifth-leading cause of death in the United States, affect nearly 800,000 people annually.
Dr. Sandeep Duggal, FAAEM, system medical director of emergency medicine at CHRISTUS Southeast Texas Hospital – St. Elizabeth, stressed the risk factors associated with strokes, including diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, smoking, and a family history of the condition. He emphasized the significance of consulting with healthcare providers to reduce the risk of stroke.
Two common types of stroke are ischemic strokes, characterized by a lack of blood flow to the brain, and hemorrhagic strokes, which occur when there is bleeding in the brain.
Jennifer Burwell, stroke coordinator at CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital – Tyler, urged individuals to remember the acronym "BEFAST" when identifying stroke symptoms. If someone experiences a sudden loss of balance, vision loss in one or both eyes, an uneven face, weak or hanging arms or legs, slurred speech, or confusion, they should call 911 immediately.
Prompt treatment is crucial in stroke cases, as nearly 2 million brain cells are lost every second. Stroke survivor Steve Brice recalled the moment he realized something was wrong and was grateful for the swift care he received.
CHRISTUS Health is dedicated to providing high-quality stroke rehabilitation services across its numerous locations, focusing on comprehensive, patient-centered care. Dr. Morgan Campbell III, regional director of CHRISTUS Spohn Health System’s Neuroscience Institute, emphasized that treatment continues after a patient has a stroke, with therapists working closely with patients to meet their unique cognitive, speech, occupational, and physical therapy goals.
CHRISTUS Health's comprehensive stroke centers are recognized by the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association for their commitment to diagnosing and treating stroke patients.
Burwell highlighted the impact of strokes on survivors, noting that a third may live with a disability, another third may return to a normal life, and the remaining third may sadly pass away from a stroke. Preventative measures are crucial in reducing the risk of stroke.