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Wed, Mar 1, 2017 at 12:00 AM

How to recognize warning signs of strokes

The quicker you call 911, the better

Allison Trammell, MSN, RN and Quality Data Specialist for Marshall Medical Centers, taught seniors how to recognize the warning signs of strokes, along with ways to prevent them.

“Every 60 seconds that a stroke goes untreated, nearly 2 million brain cells die,” Trammell said

Other stroke facts:

       Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the US

        Nearly 800,000 strokes and 130,000 deaths occur every year  

       About 66 percent of hospitalizations for stroke occur among adults age 65 and older

       About 94 percent of strokes occur in an urban or suburban area

       The cost of treating strokes in the U.S. in 2012 were $71.5 billion and are expected to triple to $184 billion by 2030.

       80% of all strokes are PREVENTABLE!

Fortunately, there is good news to share about strokes, Trammell said. Marshall Medical Centers has new technological advancements in place to treat strokes. Teleneurology is an advanced high definition camera/computer system to aid in the evaluation of stroke patients and determine best care. 

“Thanks to the North Alabama Stroke Network – which includes both Marshall Medical Centers North and South – local residents have 24/7 access to a neurologist at Huntsville Hospital allowing the patient to undergo a neurology exam and consult via the telemedicine computer.”

An easy way to recognize that someone is having a stroke is by remembering the acronym FAST: 

       F = face drooping

       A = arm weakness

       S = speech difficulty

       T = time to call 911

Trammell said most often it is someone other than the one having the stroke who makes the decision to call 911. They should not wait to make the call.

“Acting FAST improves chances of recovery,” she said.

Act now to avoid having a stroke with these important risk reducers: 

       Manage your blood pressure: lowering your numbers can cut your risk in half

       Control your cholesterol: reduce the chance of blocked arteries

       Reduce blood sugar levels

       Get active:  30 minutes a day can reduce your risk

       Eat better:  increase fruits and veggies and reduce sodium

       Lose weight:  70% of Americans are overweight. Losing weight reduces the workload of your heart, lungs, blood vessels

       Stop smoking:  risk of stroke is 2-4 times higher in those who smoke

To find out more about the Goldcare55+ program for seniors visit where you can download a membership application, or email To sign up for monthly lunch n’ learns call (256)571-8025 or (256) 753-8025 for Arab area residents at least one week in advance. Cost is $5. You also may register at the information desk in the lobby of either hospital.