New monthly Stroke Support Group to meet at VMH

Veterans Memorial Hospital (VMH) Speech-Language Pathologist Steven Mazzafield is now offering a Stroke Support Group for individuals who have experienced a stroke, as well as caregivers and family members affected by stroke. The next Stroke Support Group meeting will be held Thursday, April 6 at 2 p.m. in the ICN Conference Room. Future meetings will be held the first Thursday of every month at 2 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Hospital.

The Stoke Support Group provides opportunities to share tips, tricks or trials among participants, offer support for caregivers, and provide an opportunity for socialization.

While strokes can happen at any age, risk of stroke is greatest as we get older with the majority of strokes occurring after the age of 70. Risk factors for stroke include obesity, sedentary lifestyle, binge drinking, diabetes, smoking, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

It is important to know the signs of a stroke. “BE FAST” is a handy acronym to help you remember the following:

Balance - do they have difficulty with balance
Eyes - sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes
Face - look for any facial drooping or unevenness
Arm - can the person raise both arms for 10 seconds
Speech - is their speech slurred or not making sense
Time - time is of the essence if you suspect someone is having a stroke. That’s because there is a narrow window of time when a special clot-busting medication called TPA may be given to break up the blockage causing the stroke.

Depending on location and size, strokes can have different effects on the brain and body, and no one person will have exactly the same experience.

Anyone who is currently experiencing hardship due to a new or ongoing stroke themselves, or knows of anyone who may be, and feels speech therapy would be beneficial, contact Steven Mazzafield, Speech Language Pathologist at Veterans Memorial Hospital at 563-568-3411 to set up an initial visit.