May is National Stroke Month

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Up to 80 percent of all strokes are preventable. Still, nearly 795,000 people in the United States will have a stroke this year. As this area’s only “Certified Advanced Primary Stroke Center,” Rapides Regional Medical Center wants to make sure that every Central Louisiana resident knows how to recognize the signs and symptoms of stroke. That’s why, during National Stroke Month, Rapides Regional Medical Center is offering a free, online stroke assessment and Stroke Education packet through its website, www.rapidesregional.com

“We have a saying, ‘Time is brain,’” said Lynn Randall, RN, BSN, MSN, Rapides Regional Medical Center’s coordinator of CV Quality Initiatives. “When you’re having a stroke, time lost is brain lost. Today, treatments can reduce the risk of damage – and improve the chance of recovery – from the most common type of stroke, but only if you get help within the first three hours.” Rapides Regional Medical Center is one of five hospitals in the state and one of 701 hospitals in the country that specializes in stroke care. Since receiving that certification last fall, Rapides Regional has seen an increase in stroke transfers from hospitals both locally, and in surrounding parishes.

By knowing the warning signs and risk factors, you can help yourself or a loved one reduce their risk of stroke. Symptoms such as numbness or weakness on one side of the body, severe headache, loss of balance, dizziness, vision problems or speech problems – all occurring suddenly, without warning – should not be ignored. “Not all the warning signs occur in every stroke,” said John Giroir Jr., MD, Rapides Regional Medical Center emergency department director. “If you have one or more stroke symptoms that last more than a few minutes, you should seek medical attention right away. The sooner you begin treatment, the better.

To find out if you are at risk – and find out what you can do to lower your risk – take our free online risk assessment and request a free Stroke Education Packet at www.rapidesregional.com.