Symptoms of Stroke

Strokes occur suddenly, but not without warning. One or more of the following symptoms will usually signal an impending stroke:

• Numbness, weakness or paralysis of the arm or leg on one side.

• A sudden and severe decline in consciousness.

• Difficulty understanding or speaking.

• Blurred or decreased vision.

• Loss of balance, dizziness and vomiting.

Many stroke survivors have previous experience with these symptoms. Transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) are "ministrokes" and frequently precede major attacks. TIA symptoms subside quickly, but a full-blown stroke may soon follow. Initially, it is impossible to know whether stroke symptoms signal a TIA or a full-blown stroke.

Anyone experiencing or observing any symptoms of stroke should immediately call 9-1-1 for emergency assistance.

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Stroke Program


Doctors Examine Stroke Patient

New York Methodist Hospital is a New York State certified Stroke Center. The Hospital's Emergency Department is fully equipped to diagnose strokes quickly. NYM's Stroke Center offers rapid evaluation of stroke patients and advanced treatments that can reverse damage caused by stroke. Our specialists are involved in the study and employment of the most advanced approaches and equipment in stroke care today.

The Hospital's stroke program has earned the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA) Stroke Gold Plus Performance Achievement award as well as an exceedingly difficult-to-obtain spot on the Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus—the highest awards granted by the AHA/ASA. To win those awards, a hospital's stroke program must meet stringent quality measures and demonstrate an ability to provide cutting-edge stroke treatment within paper-thin windows of time.

Rapid emergency response to stroke is crucial and traveling long distances for care in a stroke emergency is not an option. This is why providing advanced stroke evaluation, treatment, and care right here in Brooklyn is a major priority for New York Methodist Hospital and for the communities it serves.

Understanding Stroke

Strokes should be assessed and treated quickly in a certified stroke center by experts.A stroke occurs when a blood clot or ruptured vessel prevents oxygen-rich blood from reaching the brain. Just as the heart muscle is damaged when a clot causes a heart attack, so brain cells are destroyed during a "brain attack," or stroke. Half a million Americans are diagnosed with strokes each year; as many as two-thirds of these may be fatal or cause permanent disability. The risk of having a stroke increases with age and is higher for men and for those with a stroke family history.

Preventive testing, lifestyle changes, and medication can reduce the risk of stroke. Recognition and understanding of risk factors and of actual stroke symptoms are key to stroke prevention and treatment.

Stroke Treatment

Brain with StrokeIn many cases, the use of clot-dissolving drugs may restore blood flow to the brain, mitigating the damaging effects of a "brain attack." Treatment is most effective if it is initiated within hours of the start of symptoms, which is why knowledge and recognition of stroke symptoms is so important. New York Methodist Hospital also has the specialists and advanced technology to provide interventional neuroradiology treatment to patients who are newly diagnosed. This technology may be used to minimize or actually reverse the effects of a stroke.

Patients diagnosed with strokes are usually admitted to the Hospital's dedicated inpatient Stroke Unit or to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), depending on their condition. Additional diagnostic tests to determine the cause of the stroke and the extent of any brain damage are performed. Treatment plans are determined and begun as soon as patients have been stabilized and evaluated.

Stroke Rehabilitation

If it is prescribed, rehabilitation under the direction of a physiatrist (physician specializing in rehabilitation medicine) generally begins as soon as a patient's vital signs are stable, usually within 48 hours. Rehabilitation therapy continues in the Hospital's inpatient rehabilitation unit or at a long-term care facility and may include physical, occupational, and speech/language therapy. Follow-up care through a home care agency may also be provided.

For more information, please call 718.246.8614.

Download our fact sheet on stroke warning signs or read more about stroke.



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