Spectrum Health Offers Free Stroke Screenings

Spectrum Health is recognizing Stroke Awareness Month (May) by offering free stroke screenings throughout the community on May 12-16. At the screenings, Spectrum Health staff will review the warning signs of a stroke and check blood pressure. No appointment is necessary.

Stroke continues to be the third leading cause of death in the United States. A stroke is a sudden loss of blood circulation to an area of the brain, resulting in the loss of neurological function.

“It is all about quick response when it comes to treating strokes,” said Dr. Brian Averell, a neurologist with Michigan Medical, P.C. “People should not delay a moment when they think they might be having a stroke. Even a minimal delay in treatment can lead to permanent damage to the brain.”

Both Blodgett and Butterworth hospitals have been designated Primary Stroke Centers by the Joint Commission. Spectrum Health continues to provide stroke care for more patients than any other hospital in the region, seeing nearly 900 patients a year.

Patients who seek treatment at Spectrum Health are met by a stroke response team comprised of physicians, specially trained stroke nurses and pharmacists. Acute ischemic strokes, caused by thrombosis or embolism, can be treated with the FDA-approved drug tPA (Tissue Plasminogen Activator).

“The drug (tPA) helps to break down clots and is statistically proven to be effective in minimizing neurological damage from stroke, although it is not without risk. It needs to be given within a certain window of time after a stroke occurs. Unfortunately, a small percentage of patients receive this drug because many don’t seek treatment in time,” said Averell. 
The warning signs of stroke include:

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

Find a screening site and time that works with your schedule. More>

Spectrum Health is a not-for-profit health system in West Michigan that offers a full continuum of care through its seven hospitals, more than 140 service sites and 560,000-member health plan, Priority Health.  Spectrum Health’s 14,000 employees, 1,500 medical staff members and 2,000 volunteers are committed to delivering the highest quality care to those in medical need.  The organization provided $98.6 million in community benefit during its 2007 fiscal year. Spectrum Health has earned more than 50 national awards during the past 10 years.