To help promote public awareness around stokes in the United States and its prevention, the month of May is recognized as National Stroke Awareness Month.
According to the American Stroke Association, each year, nearly 795,000 people in the U.S. suffer from a stroke. A stroke occurs in an individual when a blood vessel to the brain is blocked or bursts.
There are two types of strokes, Ischemic strokes and hemorrhagic strokes. Ischemic strokes occur when a clot or mass blocks a blood vessel, thus cutting off blood to a portion of the brain, while hemorrhagic strokes occur when a weakened blood vessel ruptures and spills blood into the brain.
Over the past year, The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center has treated over 170 Veterans for strokes or Transient ischemic attacks (mini strokes).
“We provide the same care for our veterans as a private sector hospital for stroke victims,” said Elizabeth Aprile, Program Coordinator, Primary Stroke Center at Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center. “We were recognized by The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and the VHA as a primary stroke center and take that titles with pride.”
Aprile went on to say that there is 24-hour stroke care at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center with dedicated vascular neurologists on site or available via the VA National Telestroke Program to help those who come to center who have had a stroke or are experiencing the early signs and warnings. The VA National Telestroke Program “provides acute stroke expertise to support VA facilities that lack around-the-clock acute stroke coverage.” and provides Veterans with care when a vascular neurologist is not readily available on site.
Because of the high standard of care for stroke victims at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, The American Heart Association awarded the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center with the 2020 Gold Plus award, which recognizes top hospitals for continued success in treatment of strokes.
The stroke clinic meets weekly with Veterans and patients who have had strokes or are at high risk of having another stroke, they work on treatment plans that reduce the chance of the patient from having another stroke.
“Eighty percent of strokes are preventable by recognizing the warning signs and managing risk factors, especially with patients who have had strokes before,” said Aprile.
For more information on strokes, please visit the CDC’s stoke page here.