Certified Primary Stroke Center

Stroke

Doctors Hospital of Laredo's specially trained stroke team and emergency department personnel are ready 24 hours a day to quickly respond to stroke emergencies and begin treatment. The hospital has a dedicated stroke unit and also provides inpatient stroke rehab services at Providence Health Center. 

Doctors Hospital is certified as a Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission, a recognition considered to be the gold standard for stroke patient care.

Primary Stroke Center Logo

Stroke Explained

A stroke is what occurs when blood flow to the brain is blocked or stopped. Within a few minutes of a stroke, brain cells begin to die. According to the American Heart Association, stroke is the third leading cause of death in the US and can lead to long-term disability. Problems that can arise include weakness in an arm or leg after a small stroke to paralysis and loss of speech in larger strokes. This is why it's so important for someone who is having a stroke to get medical attention as quickly as possible. Stroke affects about one person every four minutes in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Stroke Types and Symptoms

There are two kinds of stroke: ischemic and hemorrhagic. In ischemic stroke, the most common type, a blood clot blocks a blood vessel in the brain. In hemorrhagic stroke, a blood vessel breaks and bleeds into the brain. Symptoms of possible stroke include:

  • Numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg—especially on one side of the body
  • Difficulty with speaking or understanding speech
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Severe headache with no known cause

Time Means Brain, So Act F.A.S.T.

Stroke can result in paralysis or weakness on one side of the body, vision problems, memory loss, thinking and reasoning problems, and difficulty speaking, understanding speech and swallowing. The severity of effects depends heavily on how fast a stroke victim receives medical treatment. Here are some tips from the American Heart Association's Stroke Association branch on quickly recognizing stroke. If you think you or someone around you may be experiencing stroke, don't wait — call 911.

Act F.A.S.T.

F= FACE:
Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A= ARMS:
Ask the person to hold up both arms. Does one drift downward?
S=SPEECH:
Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like "Dick and Jane went on a picnic." Are the words slurred? Does the person repeat the phrase correctly?
T=TIME:
If the person shows any of these symptoms, time is very important. Call 911 immediately and get to the hospital fast.

Preventing Stroke

The best way to keep your brain healthy is to avoid a stroke in the first place. The best ways to prevent stroke are to do the following:

  • Keep your blood pressure controlled through lifestyle changes and/or medications
  • Don't smoke or stop smoking
  • Take steps to manage your cholesterol
  • Limit your alcohol consumption
  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain a healthy weight
For a non-emergency referral to a physician at Doctors Hospital, who can help assess your risk for stroke, call our free Direct Doctors Plus® referral service at 1-877-992-1711.