Residents of Tellico Village attended a stroke education event on June 9, 2023, at the Chota Recreation Center in Loudon. The event was presented by Fort Loudoun Medical Center and Citizens Insurance Solutions.
Several dozen residents heard from guest speaker Alicia Brooks, MD, primary care physician and medical director of Fort Loudoun Primary Care.
Dr. Brooks discussed stroke prevention, recognizing symptoms and available resources for those who have suffered a stroke.
She discussed the “BE FAST” acronym, which helps us remember the symptoms of stroke. “B.E. F.A.S.T.” stands for Balance, Eyes, Face, Arm, Speech, Time. Suddenly feeling off balance, drooping or loss of feeling in the face, inability to fully raise one arm, and slurred speech are all indicators of a stroke. “Time” stands for “time is brain.” This means getting treatment for stroke as quickly as possible will ensure the best possible outcome.
Dr. Brooks reminded attendees of how to manage their risk for a stroke. These include chronic disease management (such as diabetes, hypertension and cholesterol control) and encouraged adults to get plenty of exercise. Staying at a healthy weight and being active can protect you from stroke. She recommended adults find an activity they enjoy, such as walking, bicycling or tennis, as any movement that keeps us active is good for our health and decreases risk of stroke.
Fort Loudoun Medical Center is an access point for those suffering a stroke. Patients can receive rapid evaluation, consult with a neurologist, undergo imaging and labs, and have all of the resources necessary to treat a stroke. The hospital is a member of the Covenant Health stroke network, so if a higher level of care or intervention is needed, patients have access to member hospitals including Fort Sanders Regional, which is a Stroke Center for Excellence.
For those who have suffered a stroke, or have a loved one who is recovering, support is available. Dr. Brooks reminded the group of the importance of occupational, physical and speech therapy following a stroke event. Fort Loudoun Medical Center offers weekly support groups for stroke survivors and their caregivers.
She noted that it’s important to follow up with your primary care doctor to talk about your recovery after stroke, including how you are feeling mentally and emotionally. This is just as important to healing as your physical self.
Dr. Brooks treats patients of all ages at Fort Loudoun Primary Care, located just down the hill from the hospital. She noted the collaborative relationship between the primary care practice and the hospital for patients who need care quickly after being hospitalized, or who need to establish primary care. Connie Martin, president and chief administrative officer of Fort Loudoun Medical Center, was on hand to answer specific questions about the hospital.
“It was great to have interaction from those who attended,” said Dr. Brooks. “Everyone asked good questions and were engaged. It was wonderful to interact with people who are involved and taking control of their health.”
Stroke support groups are held at Fort Loudoun Medical Center on the first Wednesday of every month from 1:30-2:30 p.m.
Join us for our next “My Health Matters” event which will discuss physical therapy, occupational and speech therapy on July 14 at Chota Rec Center.
Covenant Health contributed information for this article.