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Providence Health & Services
Swedish Health System | Seattle, WA
Kadlec Regional Medical Center | Richland, WA
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In honor of Stroke Awareness Month, we interviewed Dr. Jason Tarpley, a stroke neurologist, to help separate stroke myths from facts.
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Stroke awareness: Separating myth from fact with Dr. Jason Tarpley

In honor of Stroke Awareness Month, we sat down with Jason Tarpley, M.D., Ph.D., Medical Director, Stroke Program, Providence Saint John's Health Center, to learn about the realities of strokes.

"There are a lot of myths about strokes out there, but it's important to separate these myths from facts," says Dr. Tarpley. "By being better informed, you are better prepared to help a loved one during the first critical minutes of a stroke. Just as importantly, if we focus on identifying risk factors, we can reduce the likelihood of having a stroke in the first place."

Because stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S., the mandate at stroke centers like Providence Saint John's Health Center is partly educational – to help people avoid stroke by making healthy lifestyle changes and to help them recover better if they do become ill. Exercise, diet, medications, testing and a wide range of advanced therapies – all resources and the expertise of the Saint John's team are brought to bear in our “whole-patient” approach.

From explaining the different types of strokes to tips on how to avoid having a stroke to his passion for helping people who suffer a stroke, Dr. Tarpley’s insights can help you identify, prepare and act if you ever experience a stroke or witness someone having a stroke. See what Dr. Tarpley has to say in the videos below.

What are the different types of strokes?

Can someone be too young to have a stroke? Can a child have a stroke?

What does the expression “time is brain” mean?

If you see someone having a stroke, is there anything you can do other than call 911?

When having a stroke, is it better to call 911 or drive yourself to the emergency room?

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S., what are the top three pieces of advice you can offer about how to avoid a stroke?

Emotional stress is so prominent in most people’s lives and has a negative impact on the heart. Does emotional stress have a connection with one’s risk of stroke?

Why do women have a higher stroke mortality than men?

Is it right to take aspirin, if you think you’re having a stroke?

Can you please share your thoughts and passion for helping people who suffer from stroke?

What is one of your proudest patient recovery stories?

What is a stroke center and the benefits of having a stroke center?

Are there any parting pieces of wisdom that you can share in raising awareness for the prevention of stroke?


The brain is a complex system, and strokes can affect anyone at any time. We hope the insights provided by Dr. Tarpley give you a better sense of the types of strokes, what you can do to avoid having a stroke, and what to do if you experience or witness a stroke. If you feel you may be at risk, we recommend scheduling an appointment with your doctor to discussion your options. If you feel you may be experiencing a stroke call 911 immediately.

More about Jason Tarpley, M.D., Ph.D.

Jason W. Tarpley, M.D., Ph.D. is a board-certified neurologist with fellowship training in vascular neurology. He specializes in the clinical care of patients with neurovascular disorders, with a specific interest in ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke, cerebral aneurysms and carotid artery stenosis.

Dr. Tarpley has served as an investigator in phase 2 and phase 3 clinical studies examining the safety and effectiveness of innovative therapies in stroke patients. He has published many papers and presented his research at domestic and international conferences. Dr. Tarpley serves as the Stroke Medical Director for Providence Saint John’s Health Center and is a fellow of interventional neuroradiology. He is also the clinical lead for Providence’s system-wide clinical stroke research.

In honor of Stroke Awareness Month, we interviewed Dr. Jason Tarpley, a stroke neurologist, to help separate stroke myths from facts.