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Emergency Services

Warning Signs of a Stroke

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is interrupted or severely reduced, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and nutrients. Within minutes, brain cells begin to die.

Immediate emergency treatment with tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) within three hours of symptom onset can minimize the debilitating effects of a stroke.

Lowell General Hospital has been designated a Primary Stroke Service by Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), for demonstrating a solid system of emergency and neurological services that meet or exceed stringent state standards, In the event of stroke, Lowell General Hospital's Stroke Team is ready to provide timely, effective emergency treatment close to home. When it comes to stroke, immediate treatment saves lives.

Call 911 immediately if you or a loved one are experiencing any of the following:

  • Weakness, numbness, or paralysis of the face, an arm, or a leg-especially on only one side of the body
  • Sudden blurred vision in one or both eyes
  • Difficulty speaking or understanding simple statements
  • Loss of balance or coordination, especially when combined with another symptom
  • Sudden, severe, and unexplained headache-often described as "the worst headache of my life"

One or more of these symptoms may appear briefly and then disappear. These episodes may be "mini-strokes," known as transient ischemic attacks (TIAs). Don't ignore TIAs. They are a powerful warning that a full stroke may soon follow.

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