stroke_webRaritan Bay Medical Center’s Stroke Center – Your partner in Stroke Prevention, Treatment and Recovery

Raritan Bay Medical Center is a state-designated Primary Stroke Center promoting a comprehensive approach to stoke care.  With a full continuum of preventive, diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitative  services, the center provides dedicated, highly skilled stroke specialists – including emergency medicine physicians and staff neurologists, radiologists, internists, nurses, speech pathologists, physical and occupational therapists, pharmacies and social workers.

Eighty percent of strokes are preventable, AND most strokes are treatable.

A majority of stroke victims can experience a complete recovery when treated within three hours of the stroke’s onset.

Know all the facts about stroke before one occurs.  This may save your life or the life of a loved one.

What is stroke?

A stroke, or “brain attack,” occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is blocked by a clot or ruptures. This prevents the brain from getting the blood and oxygen it needs, causing brain cells to die. When that happens, individuals may suffer irreversible brain damage, including paralysis and mental impairment. The stroke’s impact will depend on such factors as the precise location of the clot or rupture, how much of the brain has been damaged, and how quickly treatment is administered. There are two primary types of stroke: ischemic and hemorrhagic. About 80 percent of strokes are ischemic, caused by a blocked brain vessel. Less common are hemorrhagic strokes, which occur when a vessel ruptures and bleeds into surrounding areas of the brain.

Some individuals suffer from a TIA (transient ischemic attack), also known as a “mini stroke.” During this condition, a blood clot obstructs the flow of blood to the brain for a short period of time and resolves itself. Although symptoms disappear quickly, if left untreated a TIA will put you at ten times the risk for stroke.

What are the signs of stroke?

Stroke is a medical emergency. If you or a loved one experiences any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately or get to the closest hospital emergency room. Every second counts because time lost is brain lost.

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

When stroke occurs, nearly two million brain cells are lost with each passing minute. That’s why it is critical for victims to recognize the early warning signs and receive rapid medical intervention. Left to run its natural course, a stroke can destroy 1.2 billion cells resulting in permanent brain damage.

More than 80 percent of strokes can be effectively treated with the FDA-approved, clot-busting drug known as TPA (tissue plasminogen activator). When administered within three hours of stroke symptoms, this medication stops a stroke in its tracks by dissolving the blood clot and restoring blood flow to the brain. It can mean the difference between permanent disability and a full recovery. There is a three-hour window for successfully treating stroke with TPA making it essential that individuals arrive at the hospital within one hour of experiencing stroke symptoms.

Other therapeutic options may include surgery, endovascular procedures and rehabilitative therapies.

Am I at risk for stroke?

There are several risk factors that increase your chances of suffering a stroke. Some are related to hereditary or conditions beyond your control, while others can be changed or managed through healthier lifestyles and medical intervention.

Risk factors include:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Personal or family history of stroke or heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity/poor diet (diets high in saturated fat, trans fat and sodium)
  • Physical inactivity
  • Age (After age 55, your stroke risk doubles with every decade)
  • Gender (Stroke is more common in men than women)
  • Race (African Americans are twice as likely to die from stroke than Caucasians)

How can I prevent a stroke?

You can prevent a stroke by controlling as many risk factors as possible. Protect yourself with the following measures:

  • Watch your cholesterol and blood pressure, and modify them if necessary
  • Manage such medical conditions as diabetes and heart disease
  • Don’t smoke
  • Practice good nutrition by choosing healthier foods, such as fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products
  • Exercise regularly, with permission and guidance from your physician

For more information about Raritan Bay Medical Center’s Stroke Center, call 732.324.4970.

To schedule a stroke awareness presentation or health screening for your community organization, call 732.324.5315. For referral to a physician, call 1-800 DOCTORS or 800.362.8677.