AKRON, Ohio, May 1, 2012– Each year, approximately 750,000 people suffer a stroke and 137,000 people die from strokes, the third leading cause of death in the United States. However, 80 percent of strokes are preventable. As May marks National Stroke Awareness Month, it is important to know how to reduce risk, recognize signs and symptoms and what to do if you or a loved one may be having a stroke.
Though strokes can occur at any age and at any time, recent trends show that the risk of stroke increases with age. After the age of 55, the risk of stroke doubles every ten years. Stroke is also more common in men and African Americans.
Summa Health System recommends people take the following precautions in order to help reduce their risk for stroke:
- If diabetic, take control of your diabetes
- Lower high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol
- Follow a low fat diet
- Avoid smoking
- Limit alcohol intake to no more than two glasses of wine per day for men and one glass per day for women
- Exercise a minimum of thirty minutes three times a week, preferably daily
- Stay hydrated
- Have regular physician follow up and follow treatment recommendations
If someone is having a stroke, think “FAST.”
- F Face - Does the person’s face appear uneven?
- A Arm - Does the person’s arm drift down?
- S Speech - Does the person’s speech sound strange?
- T Time - Then it’s time to call 911.
“Calling 911 immediately is really the key to reversing the effects of stroke,” said Susana Bowling, M.D., medical director of the Summa Center for Stroke Care at Summa Akron City Hospital. “The sooner a person gets to the emergency room, the sooner the patient can be treated appropriately and the better the outcome. Often times people delay calling 911 and may be too late to receive acute treatments.”
The Summa Center for Stroke Care at Summa Akron City Hospital was recently awarded the 2012 Get with the Guidelines Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award for the third year in a row and the Target: Stroke Honor Roll recognition from the American Stroke Association.
For information about Life After Stroke, a support group at Summa Health System for stroke survivors and their families, call (330) 572-7300.
About Summa Health System
Summa Health System is one of the largest integrated healthcare delivery systems in Ohio. Encompassing a network of hospitals, community health centers, a health plan, a physician-hospital organization, a multi-specialty physician organization, research and multiple foundations, Summa is nationally renowned for excellence in patient care and for exceptional approaches to healthcare delivery. Summa's clinical services are consistently recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (Magnet® status), U.S. News and World Report, Thomson Reuters and The Leapfrog Group. Summa also is a founding partner of the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron. For more information, visit www.summahealth.org or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/summahealth and Twitter at www.twitter.com/summahealth.
About Get With The Guidelines
Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that empowers healthcare teams to save lives and reduce healthcare costs by helping hospitals follow evidence-based guidelines and recommendations. For more information, visit heart.org/quality.