Each year, nearly 5,000 Mississippians experience their first stroke, and more than 1,500 die from one. Fortunately, Pine Belt residents have access to the best stroke care available through Forrest Health.
Forrest General Hospital is certified as a Advanced Primary Stroke Center by DNV Healthcare, a Medicare-approved hospital accreditation program. This means that patients who come to a Forrest Health facility with symptoms of a stroke will be put on the fast track to receiving the exact care they need.
Our Advanced Primary Stroke Center includes care delivered in the Emergency Department, Intensive Care Unit, Neurosurgery Unit and Stroke Care Unit, covered by a neurologist 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Following a stroke, patients undergo an assessment to minimize risk factors and hopefully decrease the risk of a second stroke. Rehabilitation needs are also evaluated for each patient to make sure they are back on the road to their regular activities as quickly as possible.
Stroke Warning Signs: Think F.A.S.T!
Face: Sudden weakness or numbness of face - is it drooping or weak on one or both sides?
Arm: Sudden weakness or numbness of arm - do they drift down when you ask the person to hold them straight out?
Speech: Sudden difficulty speaking - notice the person's speech - is it difficult for them to talk, or for you to understand them?
Time: What time did symptoms start? Make sure to seek immediate medical help - every minute counts!
If you or your loved one experience any signs or symptoms of a stroke, Act FAST and CALL 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY at any sign of a stroke!
It is important to report the time when symptoms start to EMS personnel and emergency staff. There are medications and procedures that can reduce long-term disability if given within 3 hours of the first symptoms.
American Stroke Association Support Network
The American Stroke Association provides a stroke support network with resources and information for victims and their families.
stroke support network
Stroke Risk Factors
It's important to know the risk factors associated with a stroke. The chance of having a stroke can be lowered for some risk factors by changing lifestyle habits, while other risk factors are not affected.
What risk factors for a stroke can be changed, treated or controlled?
High Blood Pressure: Blood pressure is the most important controllable risk factor for stroke. Effective treatment of high blood pressure is a key reason for the decline in the death rates for stroke.
Smoking: The nicotine and carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke damage the cardiovascular system in many ways. The use of oral contraceptives combined with cigarette smoking greatly increases stroke risk.
Diabetes: Diabetes is an independent risk factor for stroke. Many people with diabetes also have high blood pressure and are overweight, which are risk factors, as well. If diabetes is treated and controlled, the risk of a stroke for a person with diabetes can be reduced.
Atrial Fibrillation: This heart rhythm disorder raises the risk for stroke. The heart's upper chambers quiver instead of beating effectively, which allows the blood pool and clot. If a clot breaks off, enters the bloodstream and lodges in an artery leading to the brain, a stroke results.
Diet and Nutrition: Diets high in sodium (salt) can contribute to increased blood pressure, and diets with excess calories can contribute to obesity. Having a healthy and balanced diet can decrease your risk for a stroke.
Physical Inactivity and Obesity: Being inactive, obese, or both can increase your risk of high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. So, go on a brisk walk, take the stairs, and do whatever you can to make your life more active. Try to get a total of at least 30 minutes of activity on most or all days.
What risk factors for a stroke can't be changed?
Age: The chance of having a stroke approximately doubles for each decade of life after age 55.
Family History and Race: Stroke risk is greater if a parent, grandparent, sister or brother has had a stroke. African Americans also have a higher risk of death from a stroke because of a higher risk of diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure.
Prior Stroke, TIA or Heart Attack: Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIAs) are "warning strokes" that produce stroke-like symptoms but no lasting damage. TIAs can be strong predictors of stroke. Recognizing and treating TIAs can reduce the risk of a major stroke. If you've had a heart attack, you're at a higher risk of stroke as well.
Stroke patients at any hospital within the Forrest Health network now have immediate access to highly specialized neurologists as the result of a partnership between Forrest Health and Ochsner Clinic Foundation in New Orleans. Through the Telestroke network, emergency department physicians have the ability to consult immediately with Ochsner neurologists 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year using telemedicine equipment to determine the best treatment options for stroke patients.
When a patient comes into the emergency department at any Forrest Health hospital with the symptoms of an acute ischemic stroke, a computer with an advanced webcam will be brought to the bedside where the clinical team will connect with a neurologist on call at Ochsner. The neurologist, patient and clinical team can see and speak to each other throughout the consult. The physician will examine the patient and review the CAT scan of the patient’s head, providing guidance on advanced treatments within minutes.
In many cases, Telestroke consultation will allow patients to stay at their local hospital for stroke care. In more complicated cases the patient may need to be transferred to another facility for specialized treatment. Telestroke is still beneficial in these cases because the neurologist will have already met and started treating the patient.
Two Diets that can Reduce your Risk of Stroke
You can reduce your risk of first-time stroke by adopting either a traditional Mediterranean diet or the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet.