The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Danville News

May 20, 2014

Quick treatment crucial for stroke victims

DANVILLE — The key to treating someone suffering from a stroke is getting to the hospital within a certain time frame, Geisinger Health System Stroke Program Coordinator Mary Ann Blosky told the Montour County commissioners.

She said a clot-busting drug needs to be administered within 3-and-a-half to 4-and-a-half hours from the time someone starts suffering a stroke.

Stroke is the No. 4 cause of death in the U.S. It had been the third leading cause of death but was lowered to No. 4 because of a lot of education about strokes, she said.

Stroke is the No. 3 leading cause of death in Pennsylvania and also the No. 1 cause of disability in this country, she said.

“It is very important to recognize the symptoms early on and to call EMS immediately,” she told commissioners at their meeting Tuesday. Treatment can start in the ambulance with an emergency room team being ready to treat the patient upon arrival, she said.

The commissioners also proclaimed Stroke Awareness Month for the month of May in the county.

Blosky said symptoms of stroke can include one side of someone’s face drooping, a person holding up his or her hands with one dropping, slurring of speech and walking like being drunk.

While men are more likely to suffer a stroke than women, more women die of strokes because they ignore the symptoms, she said. “They have too many things to do,” she said.

Factors affecting whether a person will suffer a stroke include family history, heart disease, high cholesterol, diet and exercise, she said.

She has offered to talk to county employees about stroke and she is available to present programs about strokes to groups and organizations.

Last week, Danville Mayor Bernie Swank signed a similar proclamation during the borough council meeting.

Email comments to kblackledge@thedanvillenews.com.

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