A stroke occurs when a clot blocks a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain or when a clot bursts.  When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it needs, so brain cells die.

Stroke Facts

  • Strokes are the fifth leading cause of death in the United States
  • Strokes are the number one cause of disability in the United States but the leading preventable cause of disability
  • On average, a stroke occurs every 40 seconds
  • Every four minutes someone dies of stroke
  • 40 percent of stroke deaths occur in males and 60 percent in females
  • African Americans have nearly twice the risk for strokes than Caucasians

Source:  http://www.heart.org/idc/groups/ahamah-public/@wcm/@sop/@smd/documents/downloadable/ucm_480086.pdf

Types of Strokes

There are three types of strokes:

  1. Ischemic (clots): Occurs as a result of an obstruction within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain.  This type of stroke accounts for 87 percent of all stroke cases
  2. Hemorrhagic (Bleeds): Occurs when a weakened blood vessel ruptures.  Two types of weakened blood vessels usually cause hemorrhagic stroke:
    1. Aneurysms
    2. Arteriovenous

But the most common cause of hemorrhagic stroke is uncontrolled hypertension (high blood pressure).

  1. TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack): Caused by a temporary clot.  Often called a “mini stroke,” these warning strokes should be taken very seriously.

Symptoms of Strokes:

F.A.S.T. is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of strokes:

  • Face drooping: Does one’s face droop, or is it numb?  Is the person’s face uneven?
  • Arm weakness: Is one arm weak or numb?  Ask the person to raise both arms.  Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech difficulty: Is speech slurred?  Is a person hard to understand or unable to speak?
  • Time to call 9-1-1: If someone shows any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1, and get the person to the hospital.  Make sure to check the time so you know when the first symptoms appeared.

arm weakness sign of a stroke

Diagnoses of Strokes

When someone has a stroke, a doctor will get a medical history, perform a physical and neurological examination and/or diagnostic tests, such as imaging tests, electrical activity tests and/or blood flow tests.

Common imaging tests are CT scans and MRI’s.  Electrical activity tests consist of an EEG and/or an Evoked Response test.

Risk Factors for Strokes

 There are many risk factors for strokes that can’t be changed, including:

  • Age
  • Heredity
  • Race
  • Sex
  • Prior stroke or heart attack

 However, there are many risk factors that can be treated, changed or controlled.  These include:

  • High Blood Pressure: HBP is the leading cause of stroke and the most important controllable risk factor for stroke.
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Diabetes: Many people with diabetes also have HBP, high blood cholesterol or are overweight.
  • Carotid or other artery disease: The carotid arteries in your neck supply blood to your brain.  A carotid artery narrowed by fatty deposits from plaque buildup in artery walls may become blocked by a blood clot.
  • Peripheral Artery Disease: This is the narrowing of blood vessels carrying blood to leg and arm muscles.  It’s caused by fatty buildups of plaque in artery walls.
  • Atrial Fibrillation: This heart rhythm disorder raises the risk for stroke.  The heart’s upper chambers quiver instead of beating effectively, which can let the blood pool and clot.   If a clot breaks off, enters the bloodstream and lodges in an artery leading to the brain, a stroke results.
  • Sickle Cell Disease: This is a genetic disorder that mainly affects African-American and Hispanic children. “Sickled” red blood cells are less able to carry oxygen to the body’s tissues and organs. These cells also tend to stick to blood vessel walls, which can block arteries to the brain and cause a stroke.
  • High Blood Cholesterol
  • Poor diet: Diets high in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol can raise blood cholesterol levels.  Diets high in sodium can contribute to increased blood pressure. Diets with excess calories can contribute to obesity, all which can increase the risk of strokes.
  • Physical inactivity and obesity

Prevention of Strokes

Strokes are 80 percent preventable.  It starts with managing the above mentioned risk factors, including high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, atrial fibrillation and physical inactivity.  More than half of all strokes are caused by uncontrolled high blood pressure, making it the most important risk factor to control.

Medical treatments may be used to control high blood pressure and manage atrial fibrillation among high-risk patients.

When arteries show plaque buildup or blockage, medical procedures may be needed.

Reynolds Memorial Hospital

May is American Stroke Month.  Strokes are largely preventable, so awareness and education is key.  The healthcare providers at Reynolds Memorial Hospital are passionate about helping you PREVENT a stroke, as well as caring for you if you’ve suffered a stroke.


Did You Know That High Blood PressureOne in Every Three Americans Suffer from High Blood Pressure?

Also referred to as hypertension, high blood pressure refers to the force with which the blood flows against the lining of our arteries. One of the greatest misconceptions about hypertension is that men are more prone to getting it. In reality, it is the opposite. Women are at a higher risk of developing hypertension when compared to men.


How Do You Know if You Have High Blood Pressure?

It is very difficult to identify whether one suffers from high blood pressure or not since there are no visible symptoms. Thankfully, medical advancements over the years have made it possible to find out if one suffers from it right at home.

You are suffering from hypertension if your blood pressure readings are consistently higher than 90 to 140 over a few weeks. You may also be suffering from hypertension if one of these numbers is higher than what is considered normal for a number of weeks.

High Blood Pressure Symptoms

There is a reason why it is often termed as the silent killer as people who have been suffering from it for many years won’t know of it until they get their blood pressure checked. However, some distinctive symptoms do develop in people suffering from severe cases of high blood pressure.

These may include:

  • Headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath

High Blood Pressure Causes

There is no absolute evidence as to what causes hypertension, however medical research so far suggests that it has everything to do with our lifestyles choices. You will be at a higher risk of hypertension if:

  • You take in too much sodium.
  • You don’t consume sufficient fruits and vegetables.
  • You don’t exercise regularly.
  • You are obese according to your BMI.
  • You consume excess alcohol.

Other factors such as age, ethnic origin, or family history may also cause hypertension.

High Blood Pressure Risk Factors

You may experience complications if your blood pressure remains higher than normal for some time. These complications may result in diseases and disorders as you age. Some high risk factors may even involve complications like:

  • Aneurysms: (abnormal bulges formed in the artery until they rupture)
  • Cognitive Changes
  • Heart Attack
  • Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Eye Damage
  • Heart Failure
  • Stroke
  • Peripheral Artery Disease

High Blood Pressure Treatment

If you are looking for answers to the question, “how to lower blood pressure,” there are many different ways it can be treated. Treatment can vary from taking prescribed medication to making lifestyle changes. We always try to encourage all our patients to rely on lifestyle changes rather than on medications as it shows positive results over time. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Take up an exercise routine
  • Watch your waistline and lose weight if needed
  • Quit smoking
  • Eat clean
  • Lower sodium content in your food
  • Cut down on caffeine
  • Keep a close eye on your alcohol consumption
  • Manage your stress levels
  • Visit a doctor every month and monitor your blood pressure levels at home on a weekly basis

If you think you may be suffering from high blood pressure, Reynolds Rapid Care can help. No appointment necessary. We gladly accept walk-ins!


When we commonly talk about women’s health problems and concerns, there are some major diseases that raise a red flag. In this blog post, we would like to talk about some of the dire concerns women over the age of 50 may face.

staying healthy over 50 women's health guide

  1. Cancer: The most common types of cancers women are most prone to are; cervical, lung and breast cancer. Every year approximately 270,000 women die in the United States alone and it is the cause of death of 25% of all deaths globally. If not diagnosed in its early stages, chances of survival are close to zero. This is why it is so important to get regular checkups. Preventative measures are your first line of defense.
  2. Heart Disease: While many believe breast cancer to be the number one cause of deaths in women, medical science proves otherwise. Every year, an estimated 27% of women all around the world lose their lives to heart disease. However, heart disease can be prevented or managed. Regular checkups allow your doctor to find signs early.
  3. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: COPD is a chronic condition that directly affects the lungs and airways, killing an approximate 5% (64,000) of females annually worldwide. The root cause of COPD is smoking which ultimately causes shortness of breath, lung cancer and limits the ability of the body to stay active.

Other chronic conditions that affect women, making it a health concern are osteoporosis, diabetes, flu, unintentional injuries and kidney disease.

How to Stay Healthy After 50

Undoubtedly, some diseases are inevitable; however, there are some lifestyle choices that can help reduce their effects or delay their severity over time. If you have decided to make the transition to a healthier you, we would like to contribute with our expertise. Below are some tips to ensure that you stay fit and healthy naturally without chunking on too many medications. Follow these tips and you will soon begin to feel more active and stress-free over time.

  • Exercise regularly: While maintaining a diet low in fat, sodium, and sugar content is essential to decrease the risk of stroke and heart attack, physical exercise is also crucial for staying healthy. Medical experts suggest a 30-minute walk daily or a 20-minute cardio session to keep your body flexible and fit as you age.
  • Quit Smoking: What most women don’t know is that smoking is the root cause to increase the chances of life-threatening conditions like cancer, stroke or heart disease. Research has also found correlations of smoking to Alzheimer’s disease in women after the age of 50. If you wish to feel young and healthy after the age of 50, medical experts strongly advise against smoking.
  • Cut back on alcohol: Many medical experts propose that moderate drinking (a glass of wine a day) is considered healthy for your organs however; having more than one glass is not recommended.
  • Limit sun exposure: As good as it may feel to get a nice tan, your skin too starts to age when you do. Excessive sun exposure may be the cause of skin cancer. UV rays are harmful which is why you must always wear sunscreen or protective clothing whenever you are out in the sunlight for longer hours during the day.
  • Lose weight: If you are overweight, your body may be the breeding ground of diseases like cancer, strokes, kidney failure and diabetes. You must reduce your weight in order to lead a healthier and balanced life.
  • Keep chronic diseases under control: Diseases like hypertension and diabetes must be kept in check as they directly affect your overall health. Studies show that women who keep their blood sugar levels maintained tend to appear healthier and active than the ones with irregular sugar levels.


If you have any questions, call your Primary Care Provider or stop in any one of our hospital owned practices (our medical group), and pick up a new patient application.




Reynolds Memorial Hospital is First in Nation to Implant FDA Approved Iperia MR Conditional Cardiac Resynchronization Defibrillator

Heart Failure Patients Now Have Access to Diagnostic MRI Scans 

Cardiac Resynchronization DefibrillatorThe FDA recently approved a new cardiac resynchronization defibrillator that allows patients to undergo full-body magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. Reynolds Memorial Hospital is the first hospital in the nation, not just the Ohio Valley, to successfully implant BIOTRONIK’s Iperia ProMRI HF-T device into a patient.  Learn more here or here.






A Cardiac Resynchronization Defibrillator

In the United States, more than five million Americans suffer from heart failure (HF). The condition occurs when the heart isn’t able to pump enough blood and oxygen to the rest of the body. Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT) is used to treat the symptoms and complications associated with certain types of heart failure.  CRT defibrillators assist the pumping chambers to beat in a coordinated manner, enabling the heart to beat properly.

Heart failure patients, often elderly and living with significantly diminished quality of life, are habitually struggling with additional health conditions that may require future medical intervention. Cardiac rhythm management devices that have been FDA approved for use during magnetic resonance imaging scans ensure patients have access to technology that ensures accurate diagnosis of disease and illness.

“Heart failure patients often suffer from other health conditions and diseases. We want to ensure our patients always have access to advanced technologies that ensure accurate diagnosis and timely treatment,” said David Hess, M.D., CEO of Reynolds Memorial Hospital. “Iperia ProMRI HF-T does exactly that. Patients that receive an Iperia HF-T device know their future healthcare options will not be compromised because of their cardiac device. Every patient deserves this peace of mind. We congratulate Dr. Manider Bedi and Dr. Madhu Dharawat for their cutting-edge care of patients with heart failure”

Iperia ProMRI HF-T

Iperia ProMRI HF-TIperia ProMRI HF-T also provides automatic daily Home Monitoring transmission of data relevant to arrhythmic events and heart failure, as well as Closed Loop Stimulation Technology (CLS) that adapts the heart rate in response to physiological demands.

Patients interested in learning more about the Iperia ProMRI HF-T technology can visit Reynolds Memorial Hospital’s website.


Withdrawal Service for Reynolds Memorial Hospital Fills Significant Care Gap for Tri-State Residents Struggling with Addiction

Innovative program has received U.S. Attorney’s Community Outreach Award

Reynolds Memorial Hospital opened the first medically supervised inpatient substance abuse withdrawal service in the tri-state region of West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania in September 2015.

The withdrawal service, known as BreakThru, addresses the distinct needs of patients seeking help to break the cycle of substance abuse in a safe and discreet manner in an acute care hospital and has treated more than 100 patients in the first six months.

United States Attorney's Awards Withdrawal Service Reynolds Memorial HospitalRecognizing the withdrawal service’s impact on the community, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia granted Reynolds Memorial Hospital with a Community Outreach Award in ceremonies May 9, 2016.







How BreakThru Works

The initial stages of withdrawal are the most difficult, as symptoms can cause severe anxiety, pain, distress and other potentially life-threatening symptoms. Doctors and nurses monitor patient status, administer medications to ease symptoms and ensure patient safety and comfort. The treatment is covered by Medicaid, Medicare and most health insurance providers. A generous grant from the Schenk Family Foundation ensures that uninsured patients are able to access the program as well.

“We are pleased to provide an essential medical service to the Tri-State community combatting what we feel is the single greatest threat to humanity and our civilized society,” said David Hess, M.D., chief executive officer at Reynolds Memorial Hospital. “We are encouraged that so many have trusted us to care for them and stand committed to help many more fight the devastating effects of addiction.”

BreakThru is a medical withdrawal management service for individuals that are in imminent or active early withdrawal from alcohol or drug abuse. These patients are cared for in the hospital, often in private rooms, where the physical symptoms of the withdrawal process are medically supervised to ensure safety, comfort and confidentiality.

Average Length of Stay During BreakThru

The average length of stay is three days, and the service further assists patients in transitioning to the next phase of recovery after discharge from the hospital.

“We work in close partnership with other abuse and recovery organizations to ensure patient success,” Hess said.  “Our role is in the first few days whereas our partner community-based organizations continue the long-term recovery process for each patient.  


“Breaking the addiction cycle requires removing barriers for the patient,” said Brad Fercho, CEO TriTanium Solutions.  “Losing confidentiality and the imminence of exaggerated withdrawal symptoms are major hurdles that keep people from seeking help.  BreakThru is a TriTanium Solutions service line, which is a contracted service to Reynolds Memorial Hospital.  Our care model is based on medical evidence with quality metrics and has been shown to be highly effective in helping people overcome drug and alcohol related issues and get their lives back on track.”


Access to BreakThru services is available by contacting the office at 304-221-4528. The office, located in Reynolds Memorial Hospital, is open Monday-Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.


What is Skin Cancer?

Skin Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells and occurs when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells triggers mutations or genetic defects that lead the skin cells to multiple rapidly and form malignant tumors.

Are there Different Types of Skin Cancer?

 Yes.  More specifically, there are three:

  1. Basel Cell Carcinoma (BCC): BCC is the most common type of skin cancer and frequently develops in people who have fair skin, yet they can occur in people with darker skin.  BCCs look like a flesh colored, pearl-like bump or pinkish patch of skin.  They are most common on the head, neck and arms, but can form on the chest, abdomen and legs as well.  An early diagnosis is key, because if left untreated, BCC can grow into the nerves and bones, causing damage and disfigurement.
  2. Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC): SCC is the second most common type of skin cancer and like BCC; people who have light skin are most likely to develop it.  However, it can develop in darker skinned people.  SCC looks like a red firm bump, scaly patch or a sore that heals and then re-opens.  SCC can form on the rim of the ear, face, neck, arms, chest and back.  Early diagnoses and treatment can stop SCC from spreading to other parts of the body.
  3. Melanoma: Melanoma is the deadliest for of skin cancer.  It frequently develops in a mole or suddenly appears as a new dark spot on the skin.  Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial.

How to Identify Skin Cancer and Atypical Moles

Actinic Keratoses (AK) is dry, scaly patches or spots that are precancerous growths.  People who get AKs are usually fair skinned, and most people see their first AKs after 40 years of age because they tend to develop after years of sun exposure or tanning.

AKs usually form on the head, neck, hands and forearms.  AKs can progress to SCC, so early diagnoses is important.

To identify skin cancer, know your ABCD and E’s:

  • Asymmetry: Atypical moles are ones that are not symmetrical, meaning if you were to draw a line through the middle of the mole, the two sides would match.  A warning sign for melanoma is when a mole does not match.
  • Border: A benign (noncancerous) mole has smooth, even borders.  Melanomas are uneven, and the edges may be scalloped or notched.
  • Color: Most benign moles are all one color, usually a shade of brown.  Having a variety of colors is another warning sign of melanoma.  Melanomas can be more than one shade of brown, tan, black, red, white or blue.
  • Diameter: Benign moles are usually small.  Melanomas usually are larger in diameter than the eraser on your pencil tip, but may be smaller when first detected.
  • Evolving: Benign moles look the same over time.  When a mole starts to evolve or change in anyway, that can be a sign of melanoma.  Any change, whether in size, shape, color, elevation, bleeding, itching or crusting is a sign to call your doctor.

Causes of Skin Cancer, and Tips to Prevent Skin Cancer

 There are numerous causes of skin cancer, including:

  • Sun exposure: Ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun is the main environmental cause of most skin cancers.
  • Tanning beds
  • Previous skin cancers: If you have had skin cancer before, you’re at risk of getting another one.  This could be in the same place or somewhere new.
  • Lowered immunity
  • Exposure to chemicals: Being exposed to chemicals at the workplace is another possible cause of skin cancer.  Be sure to wear protective clothing and use protective equipment.  Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using chemicals at home.

sunscreen-225x300To prevent skin cancer, one should always:

  • Seek shade especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Do not burn.
  • Avoid tanning and UV tanning beds.
  • Cover up exposed skin when in the sun and wear broad brimmed hats.
  • Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher when out in the sun, even if it’s cloudy. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher.
  • Apply sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
  • Examine your skin head to toe every month
  • See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.
  • Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreen should be used on babies over the age of six months.

Treatment Options for Skin Cancer

There are different types of treatment for patients with non-melanoma and melanoma.  Generally six types of standard treatment are used:

  1. Surgery
  2. Radiation Therapy
  3. Chemotherapy
  4. Photodynamic Therapy
  5. Biologic Therapy
  6. Targeted therapy

Choice of treatment is based on the tumor’s type, size, location and depth of penetration, as well as the patient’s age and general health.

Treatment generally can be performed in a doctor’s office.  A local anesthetic is used during most surgical procedures.

Reynolds Rapid Care

For immediate assessment of your skin cancer concern, call your Primary Care Physician or head to Reynolds Rapid Care in the plaza across from Walmart in Moundsville. Their hours are Monday-Friday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.  No appointment is required.

Rapid Care accepts nearly all insurances and has a self-pay program if you don’t have insurance.

The providers at Rapid Care can assess your concern and then help you with the next step, which is going to your Primary Care Provider for removal in their office. If you don’t have a Primary Care Provider, we will be glad to assist you in finding one. Early detection and treatment are key so don’t delay!