SSM Health Medical Minute: Knowing the signs of Stroke Can Save a Life

Medical Minute
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Do you know the signs of a stroke? Would you know what to do if someone around you was having a stroke?  May is Stroke Awareness Month.  We talked with Dr. Niranjan Singh, a neurologist with SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital about using the “BE FAST” for stroke identification.  This stands for Balance, Eyes, Face, Arms, Speech and Time.

A stroke occurs when part of the brain loses its blood supply and stops working.  This causes the part of the body that the injured brain controls to stop working.  A stroke is a medical emergency.  The most important way to help save a life is to know the warning signs, but if you are an affected individual, family, friend or bystander, you need to call 9-1-1 immediately to access emergency care.  EMS are specially trained to reduce the loss of blood cells on their way to a hospital.  Time is of the essence.

From the onset of symptoms, there is only a 3 to 4 ½ hour window to use clot-busting drugs to try to restore blood supply to the affected part of the brain.

Think FAST if you think someone might be having a stroke:

  • Face drooping
  • Arm weakness
  • Speech difficulty
  • Time to call 9-1-1

People are a risk for stroke include those who have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and those who smoke.  People with heart rhythm disturbances, especially atrial fibrillation are also at risk.

Five area SSM Health hospitals have are Certified Stroke Centers.  All SSM Hospitals have achieved the American Stroke Association’s “Get With The Guidelines” status and are well equipped to administer TPA to appropriate stroke patients.

To learn more about Stroke, click here.

The SSM Health Medical Minute airs every Wednesday at 7 PM on KPLR News 11 and at 9 PM on KTVI Fox 2 News.​

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