A stroke is a medical emergency. As soon as one starts, brain cells begin to die.
Treatment can help, but it needs to be given quickly. For example, a powerful clot-busting drug can reduce the risk of long-term disability from the most common type of stroke. But to work best, it has to be given within 3 hours of the start of symptoms. This means it's crucial to recognize the warning signs of a stroke and to call 911 right away if you—or someone else—might be having one. Along with calling 911, check the time so that doctors will know if the clot-busting drug can be safely given.
More than 795,000 Americans will have a stroke—or brain attack—this year, and 133,000 cases will be fatal. Stroke is the 4th leading cause of death in the United States.
At St. Francis, we are deemed stroke-ready. This includes offering immediate stroke intervention and management using clot-busting (also called thrombolytic) medications. We have access to stroke neurology specialists either in person or via tele-stroke 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
St. Francis Emergency Department has some of the shortest wait times in the Twin Cities. To reach the Emergency Department, call 952.428.3000. For all emergencies, call 911.
Stroke symptoms are distinct because they happen suddenly. The American Stroke Association and National Stroke Association recommend using FAST as an easy way to remember the signs and symptoms of a stroke:
Face drooping. Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
Arm weakness. Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Speech difficulty. Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak or are they hard to understand?
Time to call 911. If the person shows any of these symptoms, call 911 and get them to the hospital immediately.
In addition to FAST, other stroke symptoms include:
Sudden numbness or weakness of the leg
Sudden confusion or trouble 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
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If someone shows any of these symptoms, call 911 right away.
St. Francis Rehabilitative Services offers physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech-language pathology at our Shakopee, Savage, Chaska and Jordan locations. Stroke rehab exercises and therapy can help improve common side effects of stroke, including:
Abnormal muscle tone
Bowel and bladder changes
Dysphagia (swallowing problems)
Loss of cognitive or other brain functions
Loss of movement or sensation
Physical therapy helps stroke patients improve balance, muscle strength, walking and range of motion. Treatment using exercises to manage incontinence following a stroke is also available.
Occupational therapy helps patients recovering from stroke learn new ways to handle daily activities and develop skills for the job of living.
Speech therapy can help with communication and thinking problems. For example, while recovering from a stroke, you may have difficulty understanding language (aphasia) or difficulty swallowing (dysphagia).
Aquatic therapy can help patients recovering from stroke return to daily activities more quickly.
Learn more about stroke recovery and rehabilitation by visiting St. Francis Regional Medical Center Rehabilitation Services.Back to top