Southampton, NY—The World Stroke Organization reports around 80 million people living today have experienced a stroke and over 50 million survivors live with some form of permanent disability as a result.
“While life after a stroke won’t be the same, with the right care and support one can live a meaningful life,” says Olga McAbee, MD, FAAN, Director of Neurology and Stroke Director at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital. “Today there are advanced medical treatments available to help with rehabilitation and also prevent reoccurrence.”
What is a stroke?
A stroke happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off (ischemic stroke) or the leaking or bursting of a blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke). Some people may experience only a temporary disruption of blood flow to the brain (transient ischemic attack, or TIA) that doesn't cause permanent damage. Without blood, brain cells can be damaged or die. This damage can have different effects depending on where in the brain the stroke occurs.
Signs that on may be having a stroke:
1. Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on the one side of the body.
2. Sudden confusion, trouble of speaking or understanding.
3. Sudden trouble seeing or blurred vision in one or both eyes.
4. Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
Stroke devastates lives around the world.
Stroke is the leading cause of disability and the second leading cause of death globally. Stroke can happen to anyone at any age. Stroke affects everyone: survivors, family and friends, workplaces and communities.
6 KEY FACTS ABOUT STROKE TREATMENT
1. Early recognition makes a big difference.
Knowing the signs of stroke and getting treatment quickly saves lives and improves recovery. If you think someone may have had a stroke, do this FAST check:
• Face – Is one side drooping?
• Arms – Raise both arms. Is one side weak?
• Speech – Is the person able to speak? Are words jumbled or slurred?
• Time – Act quickly and seek emergency medical attention immediately.
2. Around 1 in 10 more people make an excellent recovery when cared for in a specialized stroke unit.
All patients with stroke (ischemic or hemorrhagic) should be admitted to a specialized stroke unit, which involves a designated ward with a specialized team.
3. Clot-busting drugs (tPA or thrombolysis) increase the chance of a good outcome by 30 percent.
Clot-busting drugs break up blood clots. This treatment can be administered up to 4.5 hours of symptom onset in many patients with ischemic stroke. The earlier it is given, the greater the effect.
4. Clot retrieval treatment increases the chance of a good outcome by more than 50 percent.
Clot retrieval treatment (mechanical thrombectomy) involves removing a blood clot and can improve survival rates and reduce disability for many people with ischemic stroke caused by large artery blockage.
5. Rehabilitation is a critical step in the treatment process.
Rehabilitation starts in the hospital as soon as possible following a stroke. It can improve function and help the survivor regain as much independence as possible over time.
6. One in four survivors will have another stroke.
Treatments that prevent another stroke include drugs to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, antiplatelet therapies, anticoagulation for atrial fibrillation, surgery or stenting for selected patients with severe carotid artery narrowing. Lifestyle changes can also greatly reduce the risk of another stroke. Changes include eating well, being physically active, being tobacco-free, managing stress, and limiting alcohol consumption.
Dr. McAbee completed medical training at Rostov State Medical University, a residency in neurology at the University of Toledo Medical Center, and a fellowship in Clinical Neurophysiology at the University of Michigan Medical Center. Dr. McAbee is Board Certified in Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology at the School of Medicine at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine. Since 2013, Dr. McAbee has been Director of Neurology and Stroke Director at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital. Her specialties include stroke, headache, neuropathies, Parkinson’s Disease and electrodiagnostic testing. In 2017, Dr. McAbee was elected Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology (FAAN) for her outstanding clinical skills, teaching and community outreach.