May is National Stroke Awareness Month
Saint Francis Medical Center is hosting a free community stroke screening Saturday, May 4, from 7 to 11 am in the Saint Francis Conference Room (Entrance 8, 150 S. Mount Auburn Road) as part of its community education programming during National Stroke Awareness Month in May.
Stroke is an emergency and a brain attack, cutting off vital blood flow and oxygen to the brain. In the U.S., stroke is the fourth leading cause of death, killing more than 133,000 people each year, and a leading cause of serious, long-term adult disability. Yet most people cannot identify stroke warning signs or risk factors. Most of those strokes are preventable, according to the National Stroke Association; some studies indicate that up to 80 percent of strokes can be prevented.
Saint Francis’ free screening includes a stroke risk assessment, blood pressure and cholesterol test, and a consultation with a medical professional. For accurate results, a 10- to 12-hour fast is required. Participants should continue to take prescribed medications and drink water to avoid dehydration.
“Stroke is not just a disease of the elderly. Nearly one-third of patients who suffer a stroke are younger than age 65,” says Debby Sprandel, RN, BSN, MSN, MBA-HA, Neurosciences Service Line director at Saint Francis. “Everyone, no matter their age, can benefit by recognizing their risk factors for stroke and taking steps to reduce them.”
Risk factors for stroke include high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, and certain blood disorders. Other factors such as physical inactivity, smoking, obesity and excessive alcohol and drug use can increase the likelihood of a stroke.
Strokes can happen fast, so it is important to recognize the signs and call 911 immediately if you experience symptoms such as numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg on one side of the body; confusion or trouble speaking or understanding; vision trouble; difficulty walking; or a severe headache with no known cause.
Appointments are required. To register for the upcoming stroke screening, call 573-331-3996.