Monday, 04 May 2015 12:56 Written by MIguel Velazquez
Edna A. Kennedy, RN

Signs and Symptoms of Stroke: Think FAST

Each year, May is designated as American Stroke Month. Why does stroke need its own month? Many people are already aware of stroke, and some know what signs to look for, but did you know that stroke is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. as well as the fifth leading cause of death? This month is a good opportunity to familiarize yourself with stroke so you can better protect yourself and your loved ones.

We know much more about stroke today than we did even a decade ago. In the not so distant past, very little could be done and physicians would just have to wait until the stroke passed before assessing the damage. Physical and occupational therapy could potentially help the victim regain lost function, but much of the damage was permanent, or even fatal. New technologies allow physicians to intervene much earlier and more effectively, reducing these risks significantly.

FAST"Stroke care is evolving," North Fulton Hospital's Stroke Coordinator Edna Kennedy says. "There are so many changes right now with interventional treatment. The goal is to reduce or even prevent disability. Every minute counts. Each minute that passes without intervention, the stroke victim loses 1.9 million neurons."

Certain symptoms are immediately recognizable as a possible stroke. The acronym FAST is a useful, easy-to-remember tool when identifying these symptoms. The first indicator is Face drooping, followed by Arm weakness and Speech difficulty. Once these symptoms begin to appear, it's Time to call 911. These are the most common indicators, however they are not the only ways in which a stroke is present. Other potential symptoms include sudden headache, loss of coordination, dizziness, trouble seeing and numbness in isolated parts of the body.

Should you experience any of these symptoms or see anyone else exhibiting these symptoms, it is imperative that you call 911 as quickly as possible. Once the first responders arrive, they will be able to swiftly transport the patient to the nearest certified primary stroke center, such as the one at North Fulton Hospital.

As Stroke Coordinator, Kennedy spends her days ensuring that the North Fulton primary stroke center exceeds the necessary requirements to maintain its certification, as well as educating the hospital staff and community about recent changes and advancements in stroke care.

"I make sure evidence based practices are being implemented with our patients," Kennedy explains. "The care should align with the national standards of care. Also, we make sure all of those measures are taken in the clinical area and monitor them to provide data to the American Stroke Association, which becomes national data."

Though she has been a registered nurse for more than 35 years, Kennedy confesses that her passion lies in education, making this an ideal position for her. "I provide education through the continuum of care. We provide community education, we educate about early recognition of signs and symptoms and timely activation of the emergency response system. I provide initial and ongoing education to the staff and physicians to make sure those measures are implemented bedside."

Thanks to efforts such as these, North Fulton's Primary Stroke Care Center is on the cutting edge of stroke care. Mortality and disability rates have taken a nosedive in this area, dropping stroke from the fourth leading cause of death to the fifth.

"Care has definitely changed for the better," Kennedy says proudly. "We're really making headway."



Sponsored by: North Fulton Pulmonary Specialists | 2500 Hospital Boulevard, Ste 340 | Roswell, GA 30076  |  Phone: (770) 740-1753 |


Monday, 30 March 2015 13:41 Written by MIguel Velazquez
Julian Bragg, MD, PHD

Know the Signs – Are You Having a Stroke?





Strokes occur when blood flow to the brain is compromised, leading to the death of brain tissue. While strokes can be devastating, new medications and other treatments can lead to dramatic recovery, but only if the stroke is identified and treated quickly. The American Stroke Association recommends using the acronym FAST to remember the signs and symptoms of a stroke:

  • F – Facial drooping on one side
  • A – Arm weakness that impairs raising the arm on one side
  • S – Speech difficulty, either impaired speech or difficulty understanding speech
  • T – Time is critical, and anyone with these signs needs to be evaluated immediately for stroke

Traditional "clot-busting" medications had to be used within three hours of the onset of stroke symptoms, which made many patients ineligible for treatment. Newer guidelines and neurointerventional procedures, available at major stroke centers, allow more patients to benefit from improved long-term outcomes.

If you notice yourself or anyone around you experiencing these signs, note the time, call 911 and get to the hospital immediately.

To reduce your risk of having a stroke, be sure to eat well, exercise regularly, don't smoke, and follow up with your primary doctor, watching closely to allow early diagnosis and good control of:

  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Diabetes




Julian Bragg, MD, PHD

Midtown Neurology, P.C., a provider of IDD therapy and other neurological services in Atlanta, is the practice of Drs. Husham Mishu and Julian Bragg, who are both certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN). Midtown Neurology is affiliated with the stroke program at Atlanta Medical Center, which has been designated by the Joint Commission as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center. Our neurologists have committed themselves to providing you with state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment options for your neurological concerns. Whether it is IDD Therapy, BOTOX treatments, migraine headache relief or any other number of neurological needs, we combine our treatments with a thorough education regarding your condition, encouraging you to become an active participant in your treatment plan. At Midtown Neurology, it is our philosophy that you have complete knowledge in order to work as a team with us to treat your condition.

Sponsored by: Midtown Neurology P.C. | Atlanta's Premier IDD Therapy Center | Phone: (404) 653-0039 |