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November 16, 2020

Is Fear of COVID-19 Keeping Stroke Patients from Seeking Care?

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and is a major cause of serious disability for adults. Due to the widespread threat of the coronavirus COVID-19, many patients who need life-saving care may not be seeking the help they need when every minute counts.

Stroke is an injury to the brain that occurs when the brain's blood supply is interrupted. Blood carries oxygen which is necessary for all cells in the body to survive. The brain has one of the highest demands for oxygen. In fact, cells in the brain start to die if they are without oxygen-rich blood for more than a few minutes. The death of these brain cells can result in permanent brain damage. Other terms for stroke include cerebrovascular accident (CVA) or brain attack.

The most important thing to remember is “time is brain!” Treatment options are available for stroke, but time is crucial.  If you are experiencing symptoms of stroke, call 911 or have someone bring you to the nearest emergency room.

For signs and symptoms of stroke, you are encouraged to remember “BE FAST”:

  • B – Balance: Watch for sudden loss of balance
  • E – Eyes: Check for vision loss
  • F – Face: Look for an uneven smiles
  • A – Arm: Check if one arm is weak
  • S – Speech: Listen for slurred speech
  • T – Time: Call 911 right away

Anyone can have a stroke at any age. But certain things can increase your chances of having a stroke. The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from a stroke is to understand your risk and how to control it. Learn more about your risk for stroke at www.cdc.gov/stroke