Gold Seal

The Stroke Center at Blake Medical Center is certified as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center by the Joint Commission. This certification means our program complies with the highest national standards for safety and quality care in the rapid-response and treatment of acute stroke patients.

What is a stroke?

A Stroke occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off. When blood flow is blocked, brain cells die because oxygen and nutrients cannot get through. Stroke is a leading cause of disability among adults in the United States and the fourth leading cause of death.

Ischemic stroke occurs when an artery supplying blood to the brain is blocked by a blood clot. The clot can also form in another part of the body and become stuck in one of the narrow brain arteries.

Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain leaks or ruptures. This damage to the blood vessel can occur as a result of uncontrolled high blood pressure, weakened blood vessel walls or an abnormal tangle of thin-walled blood vessels.

Stroke is a medical emergency. A stroke may cause loss in brain function and affect movement as well as speech. When it comes to a stroke and your brain's recovery, every second counts. The more quickly patients arrive to the Emergency Department, the faster treatment can begin, which may minimize the effects of a stroke.

Warning signs

Symptoms of a stroke appear suddenly. Watch for these symptoms and be prepared to act quickly for yourself or on behalf of someone you are with:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble talking, or understanding speech
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

If you suspect you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms indicative of a stroke, do not wait. Call 911 immediately.

Multidisciplinary teams providing rapid treatment and coordinated care

  • Communication between the ambulance team and the hospital are in place before patient arrives to the Emergency Department. "Stroke Alert" can be called from the field by emergency personnel, it can be initiated by the triage nurse in the Emergency Department, and it can also be called for in-hospital patients and families that begin to exhibit signs and symptoms of stroke.
  • "Stroke Alert" Team of highly skilled medical professionals - including emergency physicians, surgeons, neurologists, nurses, therapists, laboratory and pharmacy staff, and radiologists - who are specially trained to respond quickly and completely to the needs of a stroke patient. * Each patient is immediately evaluated and treated using a uniform and extensive set of guidelines that address both emergency treatment and ongoing care.
  • A head CT scan or brain MRI scan can be performed and interpreted within 45 minutes of the stroke patient being admitted. A fully functioning medical laboratory is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week to analyze and provide test results in a timely manner.
  • Stroke rehabilitation starts immediately after hospitalization to improve long-term outcomes and decrease stroke-related complications.
  • On-going acute care to facilitate faster return to normal life for the patient.

Dedicated stroke unit

Research has shown that caring for patients in a stroke unit or a dedicated area of the hospital results in better patient outcomes. That's why Blake has a dedicated Stroke Unit staffed by the following health care professionals:

  • Highly skilled physicians
  • Specially trained nurses
  • Physical Therapists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Speech Therapists
  • Case Management professionals

Stroke support group

Scientific studies are validating the importance of social support in stroke recovery. Social interaction and simply feeling connected to others helps ease the depression and isolation so common after stroke. Blake Medical Center offers an ongoing Stroke Support Group that meets every other Wednesday from 4:00pm - 5:00pm For more information, please contact Mary Ellen Bond, RN, at (941) 798-6505 or visit our events page.

Stroke risk profiler

There are many factors that increase risk of stroke. Some are controllable, but others are genetic and can only be counter-acted with effort by you, and in collaboration with your physician. Take this brief survey to see how your stroke risk adds up.

Please select Yes or No for each question!

1. Age
2. Blood pressure
3. Cholesterol
4. Diet
5. Excercise
6. Smoking
7. Oral contraceptives
8. Drug or alcohol use
9. Diabetes
10. Atrial fibrillation
11. Cardiovascular disease
12. Prior heart attack,
stroke or TIA (transient ischemic attack)
13. I have stroke in my family
14. Clotting disorders
15. Migraines
16. Over 65

Your Score is:

  • If your score is 0 - 3, great news! You’re doing well at controlling your risk for stroke. Remember, though, that a single “High Risk” factor can put you at two times higher risk for stroke. Regular visits to your healthcare provider are important to identify health considerations unique to you.
  • If your score is 4 - 13, your overall risk is moderate. An answer of “I don’t know” is a yellow flag. Finding out can mean the difference between optimal health and a potential red flag. Minor changes in your controllable risk factors, plus regular healthcare checkups, can put you on the right path.
  • If your score is 14 or more, your overall risk of stroke is relatively high. Any one of these risk factors is a red flag. Make an appointment with your doctor soon to discuss stroke prevention.

If you do not currently have a primary care provider, click here to find a physician.

As many as 80% of strokes are preventable.

Risk factors are cumulative, so reducing even one will lower your overall risk of having a stroke.