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May is National Stroke Awareness Month

05/01/2013

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Pa. – According to Dr. Sanjay Dhar, an internal medicine specialist with Summit Hospitalists and Medical Director of the Stroke Program at Chambersburg Hospital and Waynesboro Hospital, in Franklin County, Pa., a stroke can strike quickly and quietly, so it’s important to act fast when you notice signs and symptoms.

“When you see that someone is having a stroke, call 911 right away,” Dhar urged. “Seconds matter when we are talking about brain function and the damage can be permanent. Fortunately early intervention can sometimes reverse symptoms of stroke and therefore time is of the essence.”

What is a stroke?

A stroke occurs when there is an interruption to the blood supply to a part of the brain. If a blood vessel is blocked by a blood clot, or ruptures because it is weak, this will stop blood flow to the brain.

The brain, like all of our organs, needs the blood to survive. Brain cells will start to die when they don’t have blood providing them with the oxygen and nutrients they need to live.

According to Dhar, as brain cells die, important functions like walking, talking and even breathing can become more difficult or may even stop.

Know the signs

Dhar said that signs and symptoms can be different for everyone, but the most common signs of a stroke include sudden:

  • Numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg – especially on one side of the body.
  • Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Severe headache with no known cause

For more information and to take the Am I At Risk? quiz, visit SummitHealth.org/Stroke

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