LiveSmart: Think it Might be a Stroke? Act FAST!

[Article written by Leah Campbell, OT; Kristen Romanski, PT; and Fatima Khan, SLP, of Rehabilitation Services at Samaritan Hospital – Albany Memorial Campus.]

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, with one American dying from a stroke every four minutes.

Stroke, also known as a cerebral vascular accident (CVA), is also the number one cause of disability in the U.S., with many survivors requiring assistance with daily living. At least 75 percent of stroke patients also have cardiovascular disease and are at risk of a heart attack as well as a stroke.

Strokes occur either when a blood clot or sudden bleeding cuts off the flow of oxygen to part of the brain. The sooner you get to an Emergency Department, the more treatment options are available. That is why, when someone suffers a stroke, you must act FAST!

Because stroke victims are losing brain cells, every second is vital in diagnosing the problem and getting help. Remember the FAST acronym to spot a stroke:

F is for Facial numbness or drooping

A is for Arm numbness or weakness

S is for slurred Speech, or difficulty speaking or understanding

T is for Time; it’s time to call 911

You are at higher risk for stroke as you age; if you have a family or personal history of strokes or high blood pressure; or if you are African-American. The good news is, thanks to advances in medicine and surgery, there are now an estimated seven million stroke survivors in America. About one third of survivors recover with minor or no impairments. However, the other two thirds have moderate to severe impairments or could require care in a long-term facility.

St. Peter’s Health Partners offers comprehensive care for persons who have had a stroke, from rapid diagnosis and Emergency Department treatment through Acute Rehabilitation services. St. Peter’s long-term care facilities, home care, and outpatient programs provide therapies to individuals requiring additional support to reach their full potential, including:

Physical Therapy
Physical therapy following a stroke is designed to increase range of motion (ROM) and strength in the arms and legs; achieve better balance when standing and sitting; and provide instruction on the use of assistive devices (e.g. walkers, canes, braces).

Occupational Therapy
Occupational therapy following a stroke can help provide adaptations for activities of daily living (e.g. bathing, food preparation, getting dressed); increase ROM and strength in the arms and dexterity in the hands; and provide energy conservation and fatigue management strategies.

Speech Therapy
Speech therapy following a stroke not only focuses on speech, but also improving swallowing and cognition abilities; and providing instruction on the use of assistive communication devices.

When a medical condition limits your physical or mental abilities, St. Peter’s Health Partners is here for you. Our knowledgeable physical medicine and outpatient rehabilitation therapists take the time to get to know you and personalize your care, to help you move through life on your terms.

Rehabilitation Services at Albany Memorial Campus offers a broad range of therapy services, conveniently located at the Samaritan Hospital – Albany Memorial Campus (600 Northern Blvd., Albany). The location will also be hosting a free CVA support group starting July 11, 2024, from 1 to 2 p.m.

Please call 518-471-3195 or visit for more information.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email