Seek medical help immediately if you have these stroke symptoms

Every minute during a stroke, 1.9 million brain cells are lost

Methodist Healthcare discusses the commonly asked questions with stroke care during COVID-19.

SAN ANTONIO – While COVID-19 has left a portion of the public in fear of getting emergency medical attention, it’s still critical to get the care you need when you need it.

If you have a serious illness, Methodist Healthcare is assuring the public that it is still safe to go to and receive help from its hospitals, adding that the staff is going above and beyond to keep its patients safe and restore their health.

Dr. Adam Blanchette, a medical director at Methodist Healthcare, answered commonly asked questions about stroke symptoms and treatment, in the event you or someone you love encounters a medical emergency that might be a stroke.

1. What is a stroke?

A stroke is when a blood vessel going to the brain is clogged by a blood clot, therefore is unable to get blood to a specific part of the brain.

Every minute during a stroke, 1.9 million brain cells are lost. Time is of the essence.

BE FAST, listed below, is the acronym to remember should you need to identify stroke symptoms in someone.

If you believe you or someone you know is having a stroke, watch for:

B: Balance

E: Eye (loss of vision)

F: Face weakness

A: Arm weakness

S: Speech

T: Time

2. How do you treat strokes?

Strokes can be treated medicinally with alteplase, which helps to dissolve blood clots. It can also be treated with a mechanical thrombectomy, which is a device that goes inside the blood vessels to pull out the clot.

According to Methodist Healthcare, both of the processes are time dependent, and if the patient doesn’t get to the hospital in a reasonable amount of time -- typically within six hours the onset of symptoms -- treatments are not effective.

3. How has the pandemic affected stroke care?

Nationally, the number of people seeking emergency treatment for things other than COVID-19 is down, especially for stroke and heart attacks.

Dial 9-1-1 if you or someone you know meets the "BE FAST” stroke symptoms, and treat it like a medical emergency.