Tag Archives: stroke

Stroke Warnings – Remember F.A.S.T.

A Q&A with Dr. James Chaconas

doctorQ: What exactly is a stroke?

A: A stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery, or a blood vessel breaks, interrupting the flow of oxygen-rich blood to an area of the brain. The result is that brain cells begin to die and brain damage can occur. Minutes count when someone’s having a stroke.

Q: Are there specific warning signs?

A: The key warning signs of a stroke are sudden onset of symptoms- usually numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body. The person can also have trouble speaking, seem confused or have trouble seeing in one or both eyes. Another common symptom is dizziness or a sudden severe headache with no known cause. If you personally sense these symptoms, or see them in someone you are with, call 9-1-1 immediately. Some women also report symptoms of sudden hiccups, nausea or shortness of breath.
The National Stroke Association has come up with the acronym F.A.S.T. to help people remember the signs of stroke:
F= Face drooping. Does one side of the face droop? Ask the person to smile and see if it looks uneven.
A= Arm weakness. Is one arm weak/numb? Ask them to raise both arms and see if one drifts downward.
S= Speech difficulty. Are they slurring words or hard to understand? Ask them to repeat a simple sentence.
T= Time to call 9-1-1.ll know when the first symptoms appeared.

Q: Why is time so critical?

A: The most effective stroke treatments must be applied within the first three hours of symptoms. We have anti-platelet medications and certain procedures that can help get blood flow returned to the brain before there is permanent damage. That 3 hour window is critical, so make sure you share the signs of stroke with your family. You may help save a life.

New Test Identifies Heart & Stroke Risk Earlier

MPCP Cardiologist, Dr. David Kim Explains CIMT

We’ve made great strides in understanding the risk factors for heart disease and stroke. And we try to prevent them by eating well, exercising, controlling our blood pressure and cholesterol and avoiding bad habits, like smoking. But many people still suffer heart attacks and strokes despite these efforts. What if there was a way to identify a person’s risk earlier- and non-invasively? A new testing method, called Carotid Intima-Media Thickness- or CIMT- is doing just that.

CIMT testing utilizes ultrasound to examine the inner lining (i.e., Intima and Media layers) of the carotid arteries in your neck. These layers are known to gradually thicken over the years as part of the normal aging process. But if this thickening is accelerated, it suggests that that person may be at higher risk of eventually developing full atherosclerosis (“hardening of the arteries”) –the step that often leads to a heart attack or stroke. Indeed, multiple research studies have shown that premature intima-media thickening identifies those at a higher risk for a cardiac event even more than previously thought. Knowing your CIMT may be very useful in formulating a more precise strategy of prevention that is targeted for you.

CIMT testing is most appropriate for individuals between 40 and 70 years old, especially in those with a history of smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or family history of heart disease. This test is NOT recommended if you already have a history of coronary artery disease (such as previous heart attack, bypass surgery, or heart angioplasty/stent), previous stroke, or known peripheral arterial disease.

CIMT testing is quick (about 20 minutes), non-invasive and pain-free. Because it uses ultrasound technology, there is no exposure to any harmful radiation. No special preparation is needed.

CIMT testing is available at our MPCP Columbia Cardiology practice. It costs $70 and is not covered by insurance. After the completion of the study, a result report with detailed explanation will be mailed to you and your health care provider(s). Your CIMT result can then be used in conjunction with known cardiovascular risk factors to more precisely assess your risk of future cardiovascular events.

If you have any questions, or would like to make an appointment, please contact the Columbia Cardiology office at 410-740-0789 or visit our site page.

David Jackson, M.D. Dr. Jackson is a Maryland Primary Care Physicians, LLC partner and is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in both Cardiovascular and Internal Medicine. Dr. Jackson is a graduate of Harvard College in Cambridge, MA. He received his medical degree from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in 1980 and completed his residency program in Internal Medicine at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center in 1983. Dr. Jackson completed his cardiology fellowship at Norwalk Hospital, an affiliate of Yale University School of Medicine, in 1985.


David Kim, M.D.Dr. Kim joined Maryland Primary Care Physicians, LLC in 2012 and is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in both Cardiovascular and Internal Medicine. Dr. Kim is a graduate of Duke University. He received his medical degree from State University of New York at Buffalo School of Medicine in 2002 and completed his residency program in Internal Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in 2005. Dr. Kim completed his cardiology fellowship at the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry in 2008.