Stroke Specialist

CardioVascular Institute of South Texas

Cardiologists located in Helotes, TX

A stroke is a type of “brain attack” that occurs when blood flow cuts off to an area of the brain. Without blood flow to the brain, brain cells in the affected area die off to due lack of oxygen. As those brain cells die off, certain functions of those brain cells are lost — movements like walking and climbing or verbal abilities used when speaking — depending on the location of brain cell death.

Stroke Q & A

What are the signs of a stroke?

In order to identify the signs of a stroke as it occurs, remember the acronym FAST. FAST stands for:


If you ask the patient to smile, one side of the face droops.


If you ask the patient to lift their arms, one arm drifts down towards their side.


If you ask the patient to repeat a simple phrase, their speech is slurred or strange.


If you observe any of these signs, call 911 immediately.

The faster a stroke patient receives treatment, the more likely it becomes for blood supply to return to their brain, which could save their life. There are certain risk factors for developing a stroke that the team at CardioVascular Institute of South Texas manages and treats to reduce the risk.

What causes stroke?

There are certain lifestyle and medical risk factors that may predispose you to having a stroke. These include:

  • Poor eating habits
  • Lack of physical activity
  • History of smoking
  • High blood pressure

  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Circulation problems

There are some other conditions that increase your risk of stroke that can’t be controlled through lifestyle modifications. These conditions include patent foramen ovale (PFO) and atrial septal defects (ASD). These are abnormalities in the chambers of the heart that may make it easier for blood clots to form that can reach your brain and cut off blood flow.

How are strokes prevented?

The team provides extensive counseling and medical support for lifestyle and medical risk factors that increase your chances of having a stroke. They may recommend that you begin an exercise regimen, quit smoking, or take prescription medications to lower your blood pressure or cholesterol.

The team also performs surgical procedures to correct PFO and ASD defects in the heart. There are multiple ways to perform these surgeries, so the team evaluates your heart and overall health to determine which technique is best for your surgery.

To get screened for stroke risk factors or receive treatment for a related condition, call CardioVascular Institute of South Texas or schedule an appointment online now.