According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), stroke is a leading cause of death and disability both globally and in the United States. In the United States alone, there are about 795,000 people who suffer a stroke each year, with 610,000 of those cases being first-time strokes.

The Comprehensive Stroke Center at MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center is always within the top three of LA County hospitals with the highest volume of stroke patients. A high volume of patients means we have the experience and expertise to minimize stroke side effects using the latest technologies and a highly skilled and devoted care team dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of stroke.

While there are things you can do in your lifestyle changes to minimize your risk of stroke, the single most important thing you can do is to be aware of the signs of stroke and educate your loved ones, so you can get help as quickly as possible.

During stroke awareness month this May, we are calling on our community, to be aware that signs of a stroke come on suddenly and without warning. But if you can identify symptoms early and get help you could save a life.

Knowing your stroke risk factors

Stroke risk factors generally fall into two categories: lifestyle or controllable risk factors and medical or uncontrollable risk factors. Lifestyle risk factors can often be changed, while medical risk factors can usually be treated. Up to 80% of strokes can be prevented through healthy lifestyle changes and working with your doctor to control your stroke risk factors.

Medical or uncontrollable risk factors:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Family History
  • Previous Stroke or Transient Ischemic Attack

Lifestyle or Controllable Risk Factors:

  • High Blood Pressure (hypertension)
  • Atrial Fibrillation
  • High Cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Tobacco Use and Smoking
  • Alcohol Use
  • Physical Inactivity
  • Obesity

Completing steps such as exercising regularly, monitoring your weight, eating healthy and not smoking all help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Leading an overall healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk of stroke.

The signs and symptoms of a stroke can be remembered with the acronym BE FAST:

B: Balance – sudden loss of balance and coordination
E: Eyes – sudden trouble seeing or blurred vision
F: Face drooping – does one side of the face droops or is it numb
A: Arm or leg weakness – numbness, especially on one side of the body
S: Speech difficulty – sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech
T: Time – stroke is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1 immediately

Quick treatment and early intervention not only improve your chances of survival but can also reduce stroke disability.

Long Beach Medical Center is equipped with the latest technology, neuroimaging, and software to identify the part(s) of the brain that have been injured which allow the best potential treatment course. Long Beach Medical Center Comprehensive Stroke Center has been awarded the American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines– Stroke Gold Performance Achievement Award for our commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of stroke care by ensuring that stroke patients receive treatment according to nationally accepted standards and recommendations.

Want to learn more? Visit memorialcare.org/LBStroke.