Dr. Jennifer Buczyner was featured in the Fall edition of Pinnacle magazine, World-Class Health Care in Palm Beach County. She talks about Signs of Stroke. Know what to look for and how to act fast to stay healthy.
Every 40 seconds in the United States, someone suffers a stroke. Sound drastic? It is—but the good news is that strokes are not only treatable but also preventable. “Risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, lack of physical activity, sleep apnea, atrial ﬁbrillation, and smoking are treatable and can be kept under control with regular monitoring by your primary care physician,” says Dr. Jennifer Buczyner, a board-certiﬁed neurologist at First Choice Neurology and medical director of the stroke program at Jupiter Medical Center. “It’s vital that the general public educates itself because strokes can affect anyone from newborns to older populations.” Here, Buczyner explains the basics of a stroke and what to do in the critical moments after one occurs.
What is a stroke?
A stroke is a disruption of blood ﬂow to a part of the brain. There are two types of strokes: The most common is an ischemic stroke, which involves a blockage of an artery to the brain. There’s also a hemorrhagic stroke, which occurs when blood spills into or around the brain, creating swelling and pressure.
How do you know that you’re having a stroke?
There are numerous symptoms, including numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body; trouble seeing, walking, or talking; dizziness; and sudden and acute headaches. A common acronym used to describe the symptoms and to encourage responsiveness is FAST—it stands for facial drooping, arm weakness, speech difficulties, time to call emergency services. If you have symptoms, call 911 immediately.
Why is it important to get to the hospital as soon as possible?
A small window of time— typically 3 hours after onset of symptoms but up to 4.5 hours in some cases—exists for treatment in which tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) can be given. The FDA-approved tPA treatment is given through an IV in the arm and works to dissolve the clot and improve blood ﬂow to the part of the brain being deprived of it. That’s why it’s crucial that a patient gets to a hospital as soon as possible and why you need to be able to identify a stroke quickly too.
What happens after treatment?
There is an evaluation to look for causes of the stroke and to modify other risk factors that are not currently under control. This includes a variety of imaging studies, heart monitoring/testing, and laboratory evaluation. Rehabilitation with physical and occupational therapies is key to overcoming any physical weaknesses a patient may have suffered during the stroke.
What is a comprehensive stroke center?
A comprehensive stroke center is able to treat more complex cases, with a strong presence of experts in neurosurgical evaluations who focus on hemorrhagic strokes, as well as those skilled in interventional procedures. Jupiter Medical Center will soon be a comprehensive stroke center with dedicated interventional neurologists and radiologists who can perform procedures beyond tissue plasminogen activator (tPA).
About Dr. Jennifer Buczyner
Jennifer Buczyner, MD is a board-certified neurologist at First Choice Neurology with subspecialty training in neurophysiology and neuromuscular disorders. She has a general neurology practice with a special interest migraine headache, neuropathy, nerve and muscle disorders such as ALS and myasthenia gravis, seizures, strokes, tremor, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and multiple sclerosis.
Dr. Buczyner currently serves as the stroke medical director at Jupiter Medical Center and is also on the staff at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center.