Every 45 seconds, someone in the United States experiences a stroke. Yet, despite being the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of adult disability in this country, fewer than one in five Americans can recognize a symptom of a stroke. But minutes count when dealing with strokes. The UNM Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery recently initiated a new Stroke Program with the goal of providing an integrated, interdisciplinary approach to stroke management.

" Many people know what to do when they, or someone they are near, seems to be having a heart attack, but they don ’ t recognize the symptoms of stroke, " said Howard Yonas, M.D., chair, UNM School of Medicine Department of Neurosurgery.

Treatment exists to help minimize the effects of a stroke, however it must be given within 3 hours of the first symptoms. So it is important for people to be able to recognize the symptoms of stroke and seek emergency medical attention.

With the institution of the UNMHealth Sciences Center Stroke Program, an interdisciplinary team is activated whenever patients who present in the ER with symptoms of an Ischemic stroke. The team assembles to assess the patient and to quickly schedule a cat scat. If needed, clot busing drugs are given to restore blood flow and reverse blood flow. This quick response can mitigate side effects of stroke.

Within the community, recognizing stroke symptoms can be easy by learning to think F.A.S.T.

F= Face Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

A=Arms Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S= Speech Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Does the speech sound slurred or strange?

T=Time When did these symptoms first manifest?

The UNM Department of Neurosurgery Stroke service and National Stroke Association are committed to reducing the incidence and impact of stroke through increasing awareness and educating Americans about stroke. Understanding strokes or brain attacks is important for the health and well-being of not just the women in your life but everyone. For more information on stroke and stroke prevention, call National Stroke Association at 1-800-STROKES or visitwww.stroke.org


Contact: Cindy Foster, 272-3322