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FAST stroke care makes the difference

Date: 05/26/2020

Bangor, Maine (May 26, 2020) — Strokes continue to happen, whether there’s a global pandemic or not. In fact, some studies are showing they may be more common in the setting of COVID-19. In the last couple of months across the US, there has been a drop in the number of patients being evaluated for stroke, including at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center. This is especially troubling as a quick response by healthcare professionals to treat a stroke can mean the difference between a full life and a debilitated one.

“During the stay-at-home order, patients may have been reluctant to come to the Emergency Department. However, our first job is to keep our patients safe, and enhanced protocols are in place across Northern Light Health to ensure the safest environment for our patients,” explains Roople Unia, MD, interim medical director, Northern Light Stroke Care.

During National Stroke Awareness Month in May, Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center reminds everyone to act FAST if they notice the sudden onset of Face drooping, Arm weakness, and Speech difficulty; it is Time to call 911. Keep in mind other stroke symptoms may include sudden vision changes, balance issues, or coordination problems.
 
Early interventions give patients the best chance of stroke recovery. “Mainers are a tough breed, who may not think they need help,” continues Dr. Unia. “We want to encourage patients to come to the Emergency Department immediately by ambulance if they sense possible stroke symptoms, so they will have the best outcomes.” By treating stroke within 4.5 hours of symptom onset, blood supply may return to the brain and the devastating effects of stroke can be minimized, which may mean less paralysis and decreased time spent in rehabilitation.
 
The best possible scenario is decreasing the risk of stroke entirely. The best way to prevent nearly 80% of strokes is by adopting long term lifestyle changes such as exercising regularly, eating more fruits and vegetables, quitting smoking, and seeing a primary care provider regularly to manage risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
 
To learn more about stroke information, visit the American Heart Association | American Stroke Association. Please contact Northern Light Stroke Care, by calling 207.973.8278.