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DMH has earned the Gold Seal of Approval from the Joint Commission for Primary Stroke Centers .  This distinction is awarded only to those programs that comply with the highest national standards for safety and quality of care and demonstrate a commitment to excellence in providing primary stroke center services.

We’re committed to educating the community on how to recognize the signs of stroke and to reduce risk factors for stroke.

Stroke Symptoms

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Abrupt onset of confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
  • Sudden double vision or trouble with vision
  • Abrupt onset of dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden, severe headache



The acronym BE FAST can make spotting a stroke easier.

B is for balance. Does the person have a sudden loss of balance or coordination?

E is for eyes. Is there a sudden change in vision, blurry vision, or double vision?

F is for face. Does one side of the face droop?  Ask the person to smile.

A is for arm. Is one arm or leg weak or numb?  Ask the person to raise both arms.

S is for speech. Is speech slurred?  Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence.  Is the sentence repeated correctly?

T is for time. If the person shows any of these symptoms, call 911 and get to Decatur Memorial Hospital FAST.


Risk Factors for Stroke

There are two types of risk factors for stroke; those you can’t change and those you can change or modify.

The risk factors for stroke that you can’t change are:

  • Age
  • Race
  • Family History
  • Prior Stroke
  • Gender


The risk factors that can be changed or treated are:

  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Blockage in the carotid artery
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat)
  • Physical Inactivity
  • Unhealthy Diet
  • Drug Use

How can I reduce my risk factors of stroke?

One of the main ways to reduce your risk of stroke is to work closely with your healthcare provider.   Lifestyle changes such as maintaining an ideal weight, eating a healthy diet and getting physical activity can help reduce your risk of stroke.  Seeing your physician regularly, taking medication as prescribed, and monitoring risk factors such as blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes are all ways to help decrease your risk of stroke.

To learn more,
contact the DMH Brain & Stroke Center
at 217-876-FAST (3278).

If you are experiencing stroke symptoms call 9-1-1. If you cannot call 9-1-1, have someone else drive you to the nearest emergency department immediately.