Stroke is unfortunately common, with 1 in 5 American women experiencing it each year. When it comes to a stroke the phrase “time is brain” speaks to the urgency of getting rapid care. In fact, a woman may lose nearly 2 million neurons per minute of oxygen loss to the brain. Burton J. Tabaac, MD, Director of Renown Health Comprehensive Stroke Center, discusses the importance of timely treatment and how stroke symptoms can differ in women. Women and Stroke – Surprising Symptoms Each year stroke affects more women than men. Even more concerning, women are less likely to recover from a stroke. The following non-traditional, less common, warning signs can be common in women: Hiccups with chest pain Sudden disorientation, drowsiness, confusion or a general altered mental status Nausea or vomiting A sudden headache that feels like the ‘worst headache of your life’ Unusual chest pain (especially with hiccups) Body numbness or weakness, such as an arm or leg suddenly ‘falling asleep’ Fainting or loss of consciousnessStroke Diagnosis “The first step is neuroimaging by CT scan, ” Dr. Tabaac explains. “This allows for rapid identification of any bleed, and also assists in determining candidacy for the early clot busting medication. MRI brain imaging is much higher resolution, and can better determine the core stroke size, assisting in prognosis and recovery. Since strokes have several different origins, an inpatient workup is essential to determine the underlying cause. Whether the stroke is secondary to plaque in the large vessels, clots being thrown in the setting of atrial fibrillation (an abnormal heart rhythm), or small vessel disease from years of uncontrolled vascular risk factors (high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol, diabetes), determining the cause is essential to implementing a management plan to reduce risk for further strokes.” Quick Treatment for Stroke is Key “Early recognition of stroke symptoms and seeking prompt attention is paramount,” states Dr. Tabaac. “There are interventions that can be instituted to minimize the stroke and increase likelihood of recovery, but only if a patient presents to the hospital early. A clot busting medication, called tPA, can be given to patients with stroke if given within 4-5 hours from time of onset.” Renown Regional Health Center is designated as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, the highest level of stroke certification available. To earn the designation of comprehensive stroke center, a hospital has to meet stringent requirements, including biannual on-site evaluations. This includes care for ischemic stroke patients (lack of blood flow), hemorrhagic stroke patients (bleeds), and determining the underlying cause to guide secondary stroke management prevention. Stroke Symptoms Remember “B.E.F.A.S.T.” to recognize the symptoms of a stroke below: B – Balance Being off balance or dizzy, is common. E – Eyes An eyesight change such as blurring or double vision may occur. F – Face droop One side of the face, or lip, droops A – Arm weakness Does one arm drift down? S – Speech Talking may slur or sound strange. T – Time Time to call 911. Call an ambulance immediately if you or anyone else, experiences any of these symptoms. Preventing a stroke Although a stroke can happen at any age, the good news is you can prevent it. Unfortunately African American and Hispanic women are more likely to have a stroke than other women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The following lifestyle changes are recommended to prevent strokes: Control your blood pressure Manage your cholesterol Don’t smoke or quit smoking Maintain a healthy weight by eating healthy and exercising regularly Get screened for diabetes Diagnosing sleep apnea and seeking treatment While May is national stroke awareness month, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms of a stroke all year. Especially the non-traditional stroke symptoms in women. You could save the life of your mother, sister, aunt, co-worker, friend, or even your own life. The Renown Regional Medical Center is a Comprehensive Stroke Center, receiving the Gold Plus Achievement award by the American Stroke Association. Our Stroke Program provides primary stroke care including evaluation, treatment and education to patients who arrive at a Renown facility with the signs and symptoms of a stroke. Learn more online. Renown Institute for Neurosciences: 775-982-2970 The Renown Regional Medical Center Comprehensive Stroke Program provides comprehensive stroke care including evaluation, treatment and education to patients who arrive at a Renown facility with the signs and symptoms of stroke. Learn more about treatment options for stroke and additional ways to reduce risk factors online. Learn More
Earning its third five-year accreditation, Renown’s neuro-diagnostic lab remains Nevada’s only accredited ABRET facility. The Renown Institute for Neurosciences is pleased to announce that the neuro-diagnostic lab at Renown Regional Medical Center has been re-accredited by the American Board of Registration of Electroencephalographic and Evoked Potential Technologists (ABRET). ABRET’s lab accreditation process evaluates technical standards, the quality of a laboratory’s output, and lab management. “Renown Health is a leader and a destination for health in treating neurological disorders and advancing innovations in neurology. The specialists at the Renown Institute for Neurosciences provide comprehensive brain, nerve and surgical support along with a full range of diagnostic and additional procedures and a disease-specific, patient-focused approach to care,” says Tony Slonim, MD, DrPH, FACHE, President and CEO, Renown Health. “This prestigious honor from ABRET means Renown’s Electroencephalogram (EEG) Laboratory has met strict standards and is recognized as a place where patients and physicians can confidently receive quality diagnostics.” “In addition to re-accreditation from ABRET, the Institute for Neurosciences has earned a Gold Seal of Approval by the Joint Commission and offers advanced treatment options including t-PA (Tissue Plasminogen Activator) and biplane angiography. The Level III accredited Epilepsy laboratory implements some of the newest treatments available,” said Renown’s Chief Medical Officer, Paul Sierzenski, MD, MSHQS, CPE, FACEP. “Renown patients also have access to the most promising new therapies through national clinical trials, which have been shown to significantly improve patients’ health and well-being.” “I am proud to recognize our dedicated team of caregivers for their continued passion and excellence in maintaining the highest standards in patient care,” said Renown Institute for Neurosciences’ Division Chief, Dr. Rolando Ania. “It is all thanks to their tremendous efforts that we remain the only ABRET accredited laboratory, as well as the only nationally accredited epilepsy center (NAEC Level III), in the state of Nevada.” Using a collaborative approach, specialists at the Renown Institute for Neurosciences use leading-edge diagnostic tools to identify neurological conditions and treat patients with the most effective techniques available. What is a Neuro-diagnostic Lab? A neuro-diagnostic lab allows care teams the technology to evaluate how a patient’s peripheral, autonomic, and central nervous systems function, and aid in diagnosing and treating conditions such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and other diseases of the nervous system. What is an Electroencephalogram (EEG)? An Electroencephalogram (EEG) is a test that measures and records the electrical activity of the brain. During the test, special sensors called electrodes are attached to the patient’s head and hooked by wires to a computer. The computer then records the brain’s electrical activity on the screen. Using a collaborative approach, specialists at the Renown Institute for Neurosciences use leading-edge diagnostic tools to identify neurological conditions and treat patients with the most effective techniques available. Renown Health hospitals are ranked as Nevada’s top hospitals by U.S. News & World Report.