About Amy Umble:
Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

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A stroke a day

Redmond Each day, seven days a week, every week of the year, someone in the area has an acute stroke.

Actually, it’s a worse than that. Last year Mary Washington Hospital treated 460 acute stroke victims, or about 1.2 each day. These are people with full blown strokes, either a bleed or blockage of a blood vessel in the brain.

These numbers are from Eleanor Redmond, left, stroke coordinator at the hospital. Redmond, the neurologists at the hospital and the staff of 5 South are celebrating the hospital’s designation by the Joint Commission as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center.

Mary Washington received its certification July 25, after a visit by a Joint Commission surveyor. Fourteen hospitals in Virginia are designated as stroke centers.

Photos of the staff cheering the news are posted in the hallways of 5 South. Yet the workers there also are continually sobered by the toll that stroke takes on this community, Redmond said this morning. “We’re always full,” she said.

So maybe this is a good time to repeat the warning signs of stoke. If a loved one experiences one of these symptoms, call 911 quickly. If the victim gets to the ER within three hours, and is eligible, there are medicines that can help.

Those warning signs are:

             *Sudden numbness or weakness in 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

The American Heart Association’s Web site has good drawings of people with stroke symptons here.

Check the newspaper later this week for a story about the hospital becoming a certified stroke center.