Patient Care

Stroke Survivors Share Experiences During March 28 Seminar

Mar. 24, 2013

A three-time stroke survivor, whose perseverance allowed her to work, maintain her busy household and be courageous enough to take karate and surfing lessons, is among the speakers at a seminar for stroke survivors on Thursday, March 28, at the Hyatt Regency.

Christina Goodermote will share her personal story and lessons learned after surviving a stroke, at 39. The Chili woman will be joined by fellow survivor Lucy Sebastian during the Stroke Treatment Alliance of Rochester’s community education event from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Registration is required for the free event, call 585-275-8344. Space is limited.

The Stroke Treatment Alliance of Rochester, or STAR, is a collaborative effort by University of Rochester Medical Center’s Strong and Highland hospitals, Unity Hospital and Rochester General Hospital to improve and unify stroke care and raise awareness of the warning signs for this potentially devastating health emergency.

This initiative is led by URMC neurosurgeon Babak Jahromi, M.D., Ph.D., and neurologist Curtis Benesch, M.D., M.P.H., and funded by the Greater Rochester Health Foundation.

“We hope to bring survivors together to talk about the challenges they face and ways to overcome those challenges through therapy and support,” said Benesch. “There are many groups in our community that support people through the process. We want to help open the doors for survivors who could benefit from participation in these support networks.”

Jahromi emphasized “families and survivors can learn from each other, to better understand stroke and the challenges involved in recovery. Sharing personal insights and stories can provide hope and encouragement to patients and families who are often facing unprecedented challenges in their lives.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the Rochester region has one of the highest stroke rates in New York, affecting 14 people per 1,000.  

Stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is disrupted by either a blood clot or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, spilling blood into surrounding tissues. Failure to recognize the symptoms often results in a delay in getting emergency care, which can reduce a person’s chances of survival and diminish quality of life.

About 795,000 Americans each year suffer a new or recurrent stroke. That means, on average, a stroke occurs every 40 seconds. More than 137,000 people die from a stroke each year. That's about 1 of every 18 deaths.  

Signs of a stroke can be remembered through a simple acronym FAST:

·         Face – Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

·         Arm –  Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?  

·         Speech  – Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?

·         Time – If you observe any of these signs, it’s time to call 911 immediately.

Anyone can have a stroke no matter your age, race or gender. The chances of having a stroke increase significantly if you have the following risk factors: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, atrial fibrillation (abnormal heart rhythm), atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), alcohol use, smoking and tobacco use, obesity, family history, circulation disorders, age and a history of strokes.

The good news is that as many as 80 percent of strokes can be prevented, and the best way to protect yourself and loved ones is to understand personal risk and how to manage it.