Neurological Symptoms That Should Not Be Ignored

Are you or a loved one experiencing weakness on one side of your body, numbness and/or tingling on one side of your body, slurred speech, facial droop, or vision loss? These are all serious symptoms of a neurologic condition that should not be ignored. Luckily, because of Firelands Regional Medical Center’s partnership with Advanced Neurologic Associates, treatment for a neurologic condition, such as a stroke, can be found close to home.

Remember the FAST acronym:

F – Facial weakness. Ask your loved one to smile. Is their face uneven side to side?

- Arm Weakness. Ask your loved ones to hold their arms out in front to see if they can hold them equally?

S – Speech. Ask your loved one to talk. Can they speak at all, or does it sound slurred?

T – Time. If you notice any of these symptoms, time is crucial. When was the last time they were seen in their normal state of health? 

Stroke is caused by lack of blood flow causing injury to the brain tissue. It is essential to know when the symptoms started, so it can be determined if the patient can receive a medication in the emergency room, commonly called a clot-buster, alteplase, to help decrease the long-term effects of acute stroke. This medication has to be given within 4-1/2 hours of symptom onset.

Firelands Regional Medical Center is a certified stroke center. This means that the hospital is required to meet the highest level of excellence and standards of care for evaluating and treating acute stroke patients. When the patient arrives at the emergency room with stroke-like symptoms, a stroke alert is called to alert staff in-house to quickly evaluate the patient to determine if they are a candidate for the alteplase, TPA. The emergency room staff is very well trained and exceptional in recognizing signs of new stroke and initiating the evaluation. Firelands Regional Medical Center has a working relationship with neuro interventionalists in Toledo that work with the emergency room staff to determine if the patient is a candidate for the alteplase, TPA. The physicians work together to determine if the patient should get the medication based on initial testing with a CT scan of the head, vascular evaluation, and reports of symptoms, including time of onset. Once this determination is made, the patient is admitted to the hospital to complete an assessment for a new stroke. 

Firelands Regional Medical Center has five board-certified neurologists that are affiliated with and nurse practitioners with extensive training in neurology. The patients are admitted to the hospitalist service, which manages their overall medical care. Neurologists work with the admitting physician to care for the patient, manage the stroke evaluation, and recommend additional testing if necessary. The neurologist team then gives recommendations for what can be expected as a result of the stroke in the future. A full stroke evaluation is completed to assess stroke risk factors, including coronary artery disease, vascular disease, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes mellitus type 2, atrial fibrillation, smoking, age 65 and over, male gender, family history, personal history of stroke, and race. A battery of testing is completed to identify and treat stroke risk factors. The patient is evaluated by physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy to determine if they will require ongoing aggressive therapy. Once the evaluation is complete, Firelands Regional Medical Center has a unique opportunity to offer acute inpatient rehab, which offers aggressive physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy to patients if they ongoing services. This is a significant benefit to stroke patients especially and offers them the best opportunity for optimal recovery and function.

As you can tell, the management of patients exhibiting new signs of stroke is multifaceted and complex. Firelands Regional Medical Center has met the specified criteria and has been certified as a regional stroke center. The hospital, primary care physicians, neurologist, nurse practitioners, therapists, and ancillary staff worked together to provide patient care that promotes the patient's very best outcome and family.

Firelands Regional Medical Center continues to strive for excellence in every aspect of Neurological care. Our facility uses state-of-the-art equipment and technology to help diagnose and treat your loved ones in collaboration with Advanced Neurologic Associates.

To learn more about our comprehensive neurology program and services, please visit  firelands.com/neurology

Information provided by:
Felicia Windnagel, AGACNP-BC
Firelands Physician Group and Advanced Neurological Associates


Also of interest: Becoming a Stroke Survivor: Mike Wanagat's Patient StoryNeurology Partnership Provides Advanced Care to Firelands Patients