This content is provided by The George Washington University Hospital.
Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. and the leading cause of serious long-term disability among adults. But physicians and health care professionals at The George Washington University Hospital, a Comprehensive Stroke Center, are working to change those statistics with investments and advances in clinical research and patient care.
“Stroke is a treatable, time-dependent disorder. The sooner we intervene, the more likely the individual is going to have a good outcome,” said Dr. Chris Leon Guerrero, assistant professor in the Department of Neurology at the George Washington University Hospital.
Signs of stroke include weakness in the arm, loss of balance and slurred speech. If you notice these signs in yourself or someone else, it’s important to seek immediate emergency care so experts can quickly make a diagnosis and plan a course of treatment.
“When an artery gets blocked, the brain is lacking blood flow, and all the essential nutrients and oxygen that’s needed to keep the brain healthy are lost for a time period. And the sooner you restore blood flow, the more likely you are to help that patient recover from that injury,” Leon Guerrero said.
In fact, about 2 million brain cells die every minute that a stroke goes without being treated, according to Dr. Dimitri Sigounas, a neurosurgeon and interventional neuroradiologist and director of Cerebrovascular Neurosurgery at the George Washington University Hospital.
“And if you look at the entirety of a stroke, if it’s not treated, that’s basically the equivalent of about 36 years of normal aging in the brain. So it takes a huge toll in terms of patient function and ability to be able to get back to a normal way of life,” Sigounas said.
Stroke is one of the most preventable diseases, Leon Guerrero said. Common conditions that increase one’s risk for stroke include high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking and a sedentary lifestyle.
The George Washington University Hospital achieved the highest stroke recognition from American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.