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Act Fast! Strokes Treatable if Caught Early
Strokes are the leading cause of disability and the fourth leading cause of death in America. In many cases, however, they don't have to be disabling or deadly. Knowing the warning signs of a stroke and acting quickly may help you or your loved one escape the damaging effects of a "brain attack." Treatments are now available that can help prevent a stroke.
Blood flow problems
Strokes are caused by problems with the circulation of blood in the brain. Blood circulation to the brain can be affected by either a hemorrhage, when a blood vessel bursts (hemorrhagic stroke), or a blockage, when a clot blocks the flow of blood (ischemic stroke).
When 1 of these problems occurs, a person may experience 1 or more symptoms that happen suddenly. The symptoms may continue or they may disappear within minutes to hours. Warning signs to be aware of include:
Numbness or weakness in the face, arms, or legs, often on 1 side of the body
Episodes of dizziness
Loss of vision in 1 eye or double vision
Difficulty speaking or understanding speech
Severe, sudden headache
It is very important to call 911 immediately if you experience any of these symptoms. Medications can be given in a hospital that can reverse the stroke, but they must be given within the first 3 hours of the onset of symptoms. Every minute counts.
Once warning symptoms are recognized, doctors can begin appropriate treatment. Treatments for strokes are very specific and depend on the type, size, and location of the blockage or disruption of blood flow in the brain. They may include the use of powerful drugs to dissolve brain clots or reduce and prevent hemorrhaging, or emergency surgical intervention may be necessary to stop bleeding into the brain. Quick action and early treatment can make a profound difference for a person's health.
Although anyone can have a stroke, certain factors can place a person at higher risk. These factors include diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol, family history of stroke, irregular heartbeat (particularly atrial flutter or atrial fibrillation), and a narrowing of the arteries. People with 1 or more risk factors should receive a stroke screening test from their health care provider. The screening can include a review of medical history, a physical exam, an ultrasound exam of the neck to detect blood flow disturbances in the carotid arteries, and blood tests for blood sugar and cholesterol levels (lipid profile).
Stroke prevention is also important. You can help prevent a stroke by getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking. Keep chronic health condition,s such as diabetes or high blood pressure, under control by taking your medications and getting regular checkups.
You can feel safe trusting the Emergency Services Department at Broward Health to treat you and your children for a wide range of emergency and life-threatening illnesses and injuries, 24 hours a day. Emergency care is provided by board-certified or board-qualified emergency medicine doctors, registered nurses and support teams of multidisciplinary specialists.
Find Emergency Care Near You
Adult emergency services are available at:
Pediatric emergency services are available at:
Emergency Care vs. Trauma Care
Our Emergency Care Departments are equipped to treat a wide range of emergency illnesses and injuries. To get the care you need as quickly as possible, it's important to seek the right level of care for your situation. Emergencies are when you need care right away. It's often defined as times when you think delaying care could make the situation worse or be life threatening. Examples include having symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, breathing problems, or a severe illness or injury.
Trauma care is for even more severe or critical care cases, such as bleeding in the brain or multiple broken bones from a fall or accident. Broward Health's Trauma Center is one of only seven Level 1 trauma centers in the state of Florida—and one of the few trauma centers in the area equipped to treat pediatric patients.
Broward Health treats more trauma patients than anyone else in Broward and Palm Beach.
When you need healthcare quickly, but you don't have life-threatening symptoms, please visit one of our Urgent Care centers. They can help with moderate health issues such as earaches, sore throats, rashes and sprains.
Emergency Department Process
At Broward Health Emergency Services, we treat the most critically ill patients first. When you come to the Emergency Department, a triage nurse will ask you about your symptoms and assign you a priority based on national standards. The nurse will monitor you while you are in the waiting room. Please do not eat or drink anything while you wait, unless the nurse says it’s okay.
When a bed becomes available, a doctor will examine you. You may need to stay in the Emergency Department longer if the doctor orders tests. If you need anything or have any questions, please ask your assigned nurse. The doctor will decide if you need to be admitted to the hospital or if you can go home after reviewing your tests.
Visitors in the Emergency Room
The staff will make every attempt to keep you and your family informed throughout your visit. Due to limited space, and to protect the privacy of all patients, we allow one visitor at a time. During extreme emergencies, all visitors may be asked to wait in the waiting room.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Will I be given a name of a follow-up physician?
A. You will be given the name of a doctor from our staff or be directed to a Broward Health facility. If you have an HMO plan, contact your primary care physician for further care. If you are here for a work related injury, contact your employer for follow up with their workman's compensation provider. If you need a physician referral, contact the Broward Health Line at 954-759-7400.
Q. Can I get copies of my medical records?
A. You may obtain a copy from the Health Information Management department after signing a release. For more information, call 954-776-8560.
Q. How do I get copies of my X-rays?
A. You may obtain a copy from the radiology department by calling 954-776-8750.
Q. Can I get a school or work release?
A. Your nurse will give you a note for missed time, including today's visit and any additional days that the doctor feels you need to rest. For extended time, obtain a note from your primary care doctor.
Q. Where can I get my prescriptions filled?
A. Prescriptions can be filled at any local pharmacy.
Q. I don't have any insurance. Will you still treat me?
A. Yes, financial counselors are available upon request to assist you with your financial concerns.
Q. If I've been waiting a long time, can I leave the Emergency Department?
A. You have the legal right to do this; however, we strongly discourage it. This could be a serious, life-threatening decision that you shouldn't make out of frustration. If you still want to leave, please notify the triage nurse who will give you a "Refusal of Treatment" form to sign.
If you have any concerns or questions during your stay, do not hesitate to contact your nurse or doctor.