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Stroke Awareness Month Part 2

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Part 2 of a 2-Part Series

National Stroke Awareness Month is an annual event held each May since 1989, designed to make Americans aware that they may be able to “Save the Life” of a person experiencing a stroke…be it a co-worker, friend, neighbor or family member. In this second part of our two-week series about stroke awareness, we will cover the ways you can raise awareness about stroke prevention and treatment and how to identify and eliminate risk factors.

Over the years, public education campaigns have been conducted during May to increase awareness of different aspects of stroke that directly affect specific populations, such as women or those at high risk for stroke. Today, National Stroke Association continues educating the public through campaigns such as the Faces of Stroke℠ and by creating easy-to-use tools and resources that initiate individuals and groups to raise awareness on a local level.

According to Samaritan Stroke Services, risk factors for stroke include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, atrial fibrillation and smoking.

“If stroke or other risk factors run in your family, there’s a higher chance you could be at risk too,” says Karen Phillips, RN and clinical coordinator for Samaritan Stroke Services. “By talking to your doctor and taking preventative measures, you’ll have a much better chance of avoiding a stroke.”

What can you do this May to raise awareness about stroke prevention and treatment?

  1. Familiarize yourself with the emotional, physical and financial impacts that strokes have on our country.
  2. Influence others to improve their health by sharing personal stories of how stroke affects lives.
  3. Talk to legislators and thought leaders about how their decisions can positively affect survivors throughout their recovery.

What Can You Do to Lower Your Chance of Having a Stroke?

  • People with a family history of stroke are more likely to have a stroke. If you have such a history of stroke, let your doctor know.
  • Prevent and control high blood pressure
  • Prevent and control diabetes.
  • Eat healthy food
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise
  • Abstain from using tobacco
  • Do not overindulge in alcohol (Don’t drink more than two drinks per day on average for men or more than one drink per day on average for women).
  • Treat atrial fibrillation.

The key to surviving a stroke is awareness and prompt medical attention. “Stroke does not have to be as debilitating as we once believed,” says James Meschia, M.D., director of Mayo Clinic’s Primary Stroke Center. “However, obtaining prompt medical attention is critical so the effects of a stroke can be limited and the patient’s condition can be managed to prevent further damage and improve recovery.”

When a disaster of any kind strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact Allied Universal, Inc. Our new Version 3.0 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system with automated and integrated features. What’s more, the NEW Allied Universal Property Messaging System is included FREE for all Allied Universal Online Training System users. Visit rjwestmore.com for more information.

May is Stroke Awareness Month

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Part 1 of a 2-Part Series

National Stroke Awareness Month is an annual event held each May since 1989, designed to make Americans aware that they may be able to “Save the Life” of a person experiencing a stroke…be it a co-worker, friend, neighbor or family member. In fact, knowing what causes a stroke, what you can do to prevent one and what to do if you or someone else may be experiencing a stroke could save a life—possibly even your own. In this first of a two-post series, we will discuss the nature and causes of strokes as well as the ways to prevent and identify strokes.

According to the CDC, the National Stroke Association and the Mayo Clinic, stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and is also a leading cause of serious long-term disability. There are approximately 795,000 new strokes reported in America each year. And although the majority of strokes strike people who are aged 65 years or older, strokes can actually occur at any age. In fact, according to a new study, Trends of Acute Ischemic Stroke Hospitalizations in the U.S., the CDC found that stroke hospitalizations have increased among both males and females aged 5–44 years old, raising concern about young people who might not be aware that they, too, could suffer from strokes.

A stroke or “brain attack” occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery or a blood vessel breaks, interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain. Brain cells die when they no longer receive oxygen and nutrients from the blood or when they are damaged by sudden bleeding. When these cells die during a stroke, the victim loses those abilities that are controlled by that area of the brain. These abilities include speech, movement and memory. How a stroke patient is affected depends on where the stroke occurs in how much of the brain is damaged.

For example, someone who has a small stroke may experience only minor problems such as weakness of an arm or leg. People who have large strokes may be paralyzed on one side or even lose their ability to speak. Although some people recover completely from strokes, more than 2/3 of survivors incur some type of disability.

The good news is that up to 80% of strokes are preventable. So, armed with the right information, you can prevent a stroke! The best thing you can do to prevent a stroke is to familiarize yourself with stroke symptoms. And, if you or anyone appears to be suffering a stroke, immediately call 911. Do not delay. Don’t worry about being embarrassed if the symptoms turn out to be something other than a stroke. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. In fact, calling at once is crucial in order to ensure treatment is administered in a timely fashion. Given at the onset of a stroke, new treatments can actually reduce the severity of a stroke for some victims.

The most common warning signs of a stroke are sudden:

  • Numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding or problems with memory, spatial orientation or perception
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes, blurred or double vision
  • Trouble walking, dizziness or loss or balance or coordination
  • Severe headache with no known cause which may be accompanied by a stiff neck, facial pain, pain between your eyes, vomiting or altered consciousness

“Every minute counts,” according to Karen Phillips, RN and clinical coordinator for Samaritan Stroke Services. “When someone is having a stroke, the sooner they are treated, the greater their chances are of having a complete recovery or experiencing limited damage. When strokes are treated within three hours with “clot-busting” medication, most patients will do very well, but that drug will not be as effective after three hours from the onset of the stroke, so time truly is of the essence.”

For more about strokes, check out next week’s Allied Universal blog posts. In the meantime, when a disaster of any kind strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact Allied Universal, Inc. Our new Version 3.0 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system with automated and integrated features. What’s more, the NEW Allied Universal Property Messaging System is included FREE for all Allied Universal Online Training System users. Visit rjwestmore.com for more information.