Learn to recognize the signs and symptoms

Eau Claire, WI - Every minute a person’s brain is without oxygen due to a stroke, two million brain cells die. This can often lead to brain damage, disability or death. 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identifies stroke as the fifth leading cause of death in Wisconsin, with more than 2,500 deaths annually.
HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital encourages community members to know the most common signs of stroke: 

  • Sudden dizziness or loss of balance
  • Sudden numbness of the face, arm or leg
  • Sudden trouble seeing
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Getting help quickly is important. Remember the phrase/acronym BE FAST:
       B – Balance: Ask the person to attempt to stand. Is he or she dizzy?
       E – Eye changes: Ask the person to look at you. Does he or she report blurred vision?
       F – Face drooping: Ask the person to smile. Does one side droop?
       A – Arm weakness: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
       S – Slurred speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Are the words slurred?
       T – Time to call 9-1-1: If the person shows any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.
“Treatment for stroke can begin in the ambulance, so it’s really important to get someone medical assistance as soon as possible,” says Dr. Jacques Tham, interventional radiologist on staff at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital. 
In the United States, the CDC says 800,000 people have a stroke every year, however eighty percent of strokes are preventable by making lifestyle changes to reduce your risk:

  • Don’t smoke
  • Be physically active
  • Control cholesterol
  • Control blood pressure
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Reduce blood sugar

“Eating healthy and being active can really be a challenge sometimes because we are all so busy,” said Dr. Tham. “But living with complications from a stroke, or putting your family through an unnecessary loss, is even harder.”
Dr. Tham says those preventative actions are also important because they are within your control. Other things like age, family history, race and gender are not. 
The most common type of stroke is an ischemic stroke, which occurs when blood flow through an artery that supplies oxygen-rich blood to the brain becomes blocked. Eighty-seven percent of strokes in the United States are ischemic. 
A hemorrhagic stroke happens when an artery in the brain leaks blood or ruptures, putting too much pressure on brain cells which damages them.
HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital is the only hospital in western Wisconsin to offer a revolutionary procedure called clot retrieval which can break up a clot and remove it from the brain after onset of stroke symptoms. 
“Minutes and hours after a successful clot retrieval procedure, patients may be walking, talking and symptom free - even after serious stroke symptoms,” said Dr. Tham. “The sooner a patient can be brought to a hospital with clot retrieval technology, the better chance he or she has of recovery.”
If you think someone is having a stroke, call 9-1-1 immediately. For more information about signs, symptoms and how to respond, visit the American Stroke Association or the CDC stroke webpage. 
To learn more about HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital’s stroke care, visit our Emergency Stroke Care webpage.


About HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital
HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries, the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the Founding Institute, and it is an affiliate of Hospital Sisters Health System. Since 1889, it has been meeting patient needs in western Wisconsin with the latest medical innovations and technology, together with a Franciscan whole-person healing tradition.

About Hospital Sisters Health System
Hospital Sisters Health System’s (HSHS) mission is to reveal and embody Christ’s healing love for all people through our high quality, Franciscan health care ministry. HSHS provides state-of-the-art health care to our patients and is dedicated to serving all people, especially the most vulnerable, at each of our physician practices and 15 local hospitals in two states - Illinois (Breese, Decatur, Effingham, Greenville, Highland, Litchfield, O’Fallon, Shelbyville and Springfield) and Wisconsin (Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Oconto Falls, Sheboygan, and two in Green Bay). HSHS is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries,  and Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the founding institute. For more information about HSHS, visit www.hshs.org. For more information about Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, visit www.hospitalsisters.org.

Media Contact

Karen Kraus

Communications Department
HSHS Wisconsin
Office: (715) 717-4591
Cell: (715) 717-4747

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