Expert Health Articles

Stroke Recognition and Prevention

Many people in our community and the surrounding communities know someone that has been affected by a stroke. Whether you are the caretaker, friend or stroke patient, it is important to understand the recognition and prevention of strokes.


The three most common types of strokes are Ischemic Stroke, Hemorrhagic Stroke, and Transient Ischemic Attack. Ischemic Strokes account for 87% of all strokes. The leading cause of an ischemic stroke is atherosclerosis, which is the buildup of fatty deposits lining the vessel. These fatty deposits can cause two types of obstruction: Cerebral thrombosis, which is a blood clot that forms at the fatty deposits in the vessels, and cerebral embolism, which is a clot that forms in another location in the body and travels to the brain.  


If the ischemic stroke patient arrives at an Emergency Department within 4.5 hours of the onset of symptoms, the patient is able to get a “clot-busting” medication. This medication can help ‘bust’ the clot and possibly improve the outcome of the stroke.


Did you know that 80% of Strokes are preventable? The American Heart/Stroke Association reports that with recommendations from your doctor, it is important to manage blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes to prevent a stroke. While there are controlled risk factors, as stated previously, there are risk factors that are not modifiable. Non-modifiable stroke risk factors include family history, race, gender, age, and previous stroke. Utilizing your health care provider and scheduling regular physicals is important to ensure health promotion and the management of medications, diet, and laboratory work. This will help with the prevention of a new or recurrent stroke.


Recognition of a stroke is extremely important in the recovery of a stroke patient. The monogram B.E.F.A.S.T. is a way to remember the five most common symptoms of a stroke. Balance- watch for the sudden loss of balance, Eyes- check for vision loss, Face- look for an uneven smile, Arm- check if one arm is weak, Speech- listen for slurred speech, and Time- call 911 right away with one or more symptoms recognized. Strokes are time-sensitive and every minute medical attention is delayed, brain cells are dying.


There are many resources available to stroke survivors, caregivers, and individuals in the community. However, it is important that people understand that there is life after a stroke. For more resources and educational literature, please visit


Julie Rieman, RN

Chest Pain/Stroke Programs Coordinator

Emergency Department, Blanchard Valley Hospital