Understanding Stroke

What is Stroke?
Stroke is an event that affects the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. When this happens, brain cells begin to die and brain damage occurs. This can lead to lasting brain damage, long-term disability, and even death.

There are two types of stroke:
  • Ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel is blocked. 87% of all strokes are ischemic strokes.
  • Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel ruptures, causing bleeding in the brain.
Signs & Symptoms of Stroke
Everyone should know the signs and symptoms of stroke by remembering BEFAST:


People experiencing signs and symptoms of stroke need to get medical treatment right away. Early treatment increases the chances of survival. Always call 911 when you think you or someone you know is experiencing a stroke.
Know Your Risk
Anyone can have a stroke at any age, but some people are at higher risk than others due to factors related to health, lifestyle, and family history. Use this scorecard to check your risk. If you score more points in the higher risk category, speak with your healthcare provider about your concerns and ways to reduce your risk.
Preventing Stroke
80% of strokes can be prevented. You can help prevent stroke by managing chronic health conditions and making healthy choices, such as eating well, exercising, and maintaining a healthy weight.
It’s also important to talk with your healthcare team about the ABCS:
  • Aspirin when appropriate
  • Blood pressure control
  • Cholesterol management
  • Smoking cessation
Stroke Care at Southern
Southern New Hampshire Medical Center is certified by DNV as a Primary Stroke Center.  This means we are fully capable of providing initial diagnostic services, stabilization, emergency care, and therapies to patients suffering an acute stroke.  It also demonstrates our ability to provide high-quality post-acute care in our inpatient units or arrange for timely stabilization and transfer to our associates at Massachusetts General Hospital for those patients who require a higher level of neurological care and intervention.

When patients arrive at our Emergency Department with stroke symptoms, they are quickly evaluated by a stroke specialist at Mass General through our Telestroke Program. Our acute stroke team works diligently with Mass General to determine the patient’s eligibility for life-saving procedures. This could include clot-busting medication or clot removal procedures. These treatments can reduce or eliminate the disabling effects of their stroke.

At SNHH, we strive to help decrease the burden of stroke in our community.  The faster a person can be treated for stroke, the better chance there is of a more complete recovery.

Posted: 5/6/2022