What You Need to Know About Stroke

Ask the Experts

Guido Michael Guido lll, MD
Director, Stony Brook Neurology Stroke Program

Co-Director, Stony Brook University
Cerebrovascular and Stroke Center
Fiorella David Fiorella, MD, PhD
Neurointerventional Radiologist
Director, Stony Brook Cerebrovascular Center
Co-Director, Stony Brook University
Cerebrovascular and Stroke Center

Dr. Michael Guido specializes in the assessment and management of acute stroke patients using diagnostic and physiological monitoring. He works with a multidisciplinary team to manage and prevent common early and late stroke complications and care for stroke patients. Dr. David Fiorella is an expert in minimally invasive treatment of brain aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), carotid stenosis and acute stroke.

What is stroke?
Dr. Guido: There are two kinds of strokes: ischemic, in which a blockage prevents blood flow to the brain, and hemorrhagic, in which there is bleeding in or around the brain. Ischemic strokes are the most common, occurring in about 80 percent of cases in Suffolk County. You may have also heard of the term TIA (transient ischemic attack), which is also known as a “mini stroke.” TIAs are caused by a temporary clot, which usually resolves within minutes to hours. They are often a precursor to a major stroke, so it’s important to take them seriously and see a doctor if you suspect you have had one.

Why is stroke awareness so important?
Dr. Fiorella: Stroke can affect people of all ages and backgrounds. It is a leading cause of disability and is now the fifth-leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States — behind heart disease, chronic lung disease, cancer and unintentional injuries. This is the second time since 2011 that stroke has dropped a spot in the mortality rankings. The decline in stroke deaths may be due in part to increased awareness of the signs and improvements in treatment. Speed of treatment is crucial and people are seeking treatment faster.

What are the signs of stroke?
Dr. Guido: Signs of stroke include an uneven smile or facial droop, arm or leg numbness or weakness — especially on one side of the body, and slurred speech or difficulty speaking. Other warning signs include sudden confusion, sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes, sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination, and a sudden severe headache with no known cause, often described as the worst headache of your life.

If you suspect you’re having a stroke, what should you do?
Dr. Fiorella: Get immediate help. Call 911. Alert the operator that you are having symptoms of a stroke. Since speed of treatment is crucial, getting to the right place fast is key. Ask to be taken to a stroke center where advanced treatments are available. Our experienced, highly trained medical team at Stony Brook Cerebrovascular and Stroke Center performs all the latest procedures, 24/7. Our expertise includes every FDA-approved, minimally invasive stroke intervention technique. We also use the latest diagnostic tools and offer access to major ongoing clinical trials. Our center is certified by The Joint Commission and designated by the New York State Department of Health as a stroke center, meeting all the criteria and more. And Stony Brook provides advanced endovascular treatments to retrieve clots in the brain that are unable to be dissolved by medication alone.

You’ve survived a stroke. Now what?
Dr. Guido: For the thousands of Long Islanders who do survive a stroke, it’s a struggle to recover from its debilitating impact. Stony Brook’s Stroke Support Group can help. You’ll receive encouragement and feedback from others who can relate to your situation; gain more knowledge from expert speakers; and learn about many programs and resources that can help. While we hope that you or someone you love never have to experience a stroke, it’s important to know that Suffolk County’s only academic medical center is leading the way in stroke care for thousands of patients in our community and across the country.

Last Tuesday of every month 
7 to 9 pm 
Second Friday of every month
10:30 am to noon

Open to all stroke survivors, family members and caregivers. Receive encouragement, feedback and inspiration. Gain knowledge. Learn about helpful programs and resources. 

For locations and other information, contact: (631) 638-2638
stonybrookmedicine.edu/patientcare/support groups

To schedule an appointment with one of our neurologists, call (631) 444-2599. To schedule an appointment with one of our neurosurgeons, call (631) 444-1213. neuro.stonybrookmedicine.edu

All health and health-related information contained in this article is intended to be general and/or educational in nature and should not be used as a substitute for a visit with a healthcare professional for help, diagnosis, guidance, and treatment. The information is intended to offer only general information for individuals to discuss with their healthcare provider. It is not intended to constitute a medical diagnosis or treatment or endorsement of any particular test, treatment, procedure, service, etc. Reliance on information provided is at the user's risk. Your healthcare provider should be consulted regarding matters concerning the medical condition, treatment, and needs of you and your family. Stony Brook University/SUNY is an affirmative action, equal opportunity educator and employer.