Kissimmee, FL - Did you know that every four minutes someone dies of a stroke? Did you also know that stroke is the leading cause of serious long-term disability in the United States?

May is National Stroke Awareness Month, and in order to help the community understand the risk factors and symptoms of stroke, Osceola Regional Medical Center is teaming up with the Central Florida Alliance for Stroke Awareness. The alliance consists of a group of hospitals working together to improve stroke education across Central Florida.

Osceola Regional Medical Center is certified as a Joint Commission Advanced Primary Stroke Center. The Joint Commission is an independent, not-for-profit organization that accredits and certifies hospitals across the country to provide acute stroke treatment. Osceola Regional has received numerous awards for stroke care including awards from the American Heart/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA). These awards include Get With The Guidelines® Gold Plus for the past 7 years for achieving a high level of compliance on quality measures. AHA/ASA also recognized Osceola Regional in US News & World Report as one of the best hospitals to receive stroke care. “More than just the accolades, these awards represent a commitment to quality patient care,” stated Mohammed Khan, Nursing Director for Stroke.

“Stroke refers to a group of diseases that lead to the cutting off of vital blood flow and oxygen to the brain, or, bleeding into or around the brain. This lack of oxygen and blood flow causes brain cells to die which can result in permanent disability or death,” Melissa Turner, RN, Stroke Program Coordinator at Osceola Regional said.

Time is crucial in the treatment of stroke. The earlier a stroke is recognized and the patient receives medical attention, the greater chance of recovery. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, patients who arrive at the emergency room within three hours of their first symptoms tend to be healthier three months after a stroke than those whose care was delayed. The most important thing to do of you suspect a stroke is call 9-1-1 immediately.

“If you suspect a stroke, remember the word FAST – F-A-S-T,” said Khan. “F is for face - is your face drooping? A is for arms – can you lift both arms? S is for speech – are you slurring your words and T is for time, call 9-1-1 immediately because with stroke, time is brain.”

Warning Signs of stroke include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness on one side of the face or facial drooping
  • Sudden numbness or weakness in an arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Treatment may be available if you get to the emergency room immediately upon recognition of stroke symptoms. Leading a healthy lifestyle, including lowering risk factors like high blood pressure and weight, can also help reduce your stroke risk.

If you would like more information on stroke, please call Consult-A-Nurse® and speak to registered nurses at no charge 24 hours a day at (800) 447-8206. Remember to call 911 if you suspect you or a love one may present stroke symptoms. Time is of the essence.

If you would like to have our stroke coordinator speak at your church or local organization, please contact us at (407) 518-3610.