Originally published in Alameda Sun.

February 25, 2016

Alameda Hospital has been a primary stroke center since 2011 and has saved the lives of many community members in their most critical time of need. Alameda Hospital is a member of the American Stroke Association’s Honor Roll, having achieved Gold Plus and Elite Award distinctions. The Honor Roll was featured last fall in U.S News and World Report, recognizing Alameda Hospital as one of the best hospitals in the country to receive stroke care.

This month, the Joint Commission and the American Heart Association-American Stroke Association re-accreditted Alameda Hospital as a primary stroke center. According to the Joint Commission’s interim executive director of certifications programs, “Alameda Hospital had thoroughly demonstrated the greatest level of commitment to the care of stroke patients through the Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Center.”

As part of its commitment to a high-quality stroke program, Alameda Hospital provides patient education including stroke releated programs and events. The free community outreach includes blood-pressure screenings, stroke-risk assessments, community lectures and more. Upcoming events include stroke-risk assessments from 1 to 3:30 p.m., Thursday, March 31, at Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Ave. and on Friday, May 20, from 9 a.m. to noon at Alameda Hospital, 2070 Clinton Ave.

To schedule a stroke assessment, call (510) 814-4362.

Beginning in April Alameda Hospital will offer blood-pressure screening on the third Friday from 10 a.m. to noon at the Women’s Health Center on the first floor.

A stroke occurs when blood flow to your brain is disrupted, causing your brain to be deprived of oxygen and nutrients. A stroke can be caused by an obstruction in the artery (ischemic stroke) or the leaking or bursting of a blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke). Major risk factors of stroke include high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and smoking. It is important to learn and recognize the warning signs of a stroke. 

The risk of death and disability from stroke can be lowered with timely treatment. Know the “FAST” way to recognize signs or symptoms of a stroke:

  • Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
  • Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward or is the person unable to raise an arm?
  • Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is his or her speech slurred or strange?
  • Time: If you observe any of these signs, call 911 immediately.

If you believe someone is having a stroke, act immediately. Some people wait too long because they don’t recognize the important signs and symptoms. Don’t wait to see if symptoms go away. Call 911 right away. Every minute counts.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle, knowing your risk factors and working to reduce those risk factors are the best steps you can take to prevent a stroke.

Edited on June 15, 2018.