20 Arkansans suf­fer from stroke each day

The Weekly Vista - - News - Visit www.healthy.arkansas.gov for more in­for­ma­tion on stroke preven­tion in Arkansas and in­for­ma­tion on health habits that can lower your risk for stroke.

LIT­TLE ROCK — In 2016, Arkansas had the fourth high­est acute stroke death rate in the United States. About 20 peo­ple suf­fer from stroke each day in the state.

Ap­prox­i­mately 80 mil­lion peo­ple liv­ing around the world to­day have had a stroke, and some­one has a stroke ev­ery 40 sec­onds in the United States. In recog­ni­tion of World Stroke Day (Oct. 29), the Arkansas Depart­ment of Health (ADH) urges those who care for oth­ers to learn the stroke warn­ing signs, since by­standers of­ten need to act fast in an emer­gency.

Re­mem­ber­ing the B.E.F.A.S.T. acro­nym is a way to rec­og­nize stroke and what to do when it is sus­pected:

B — Bal­ance: Is there a sud­den loss of bal­ance or co­or­di­na­tion?

E — Eyes: Is there a sud­den change in vi­sion or trou­ble see­ing?

F — Face Droop­ing: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the per­son to smile.

A — Arm Weak­ness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the per­son to raise both arms. Does one arm drift down­ward?

S — Speech Dif­fi­culty: Is speech slurred, are they un­able to speak, or are they hard to un­der­stand? Ask the per­son to re­peat a sim­ple sen­tence like, “The sky is blue.” Is the sen­tence re­peated cor­rectly?

T — Time to call 9-1-1: If the per­son shows any of th­ese symp­toms, even if the symp­toms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hos­pi­tal im­me­di­ately.

Other than a prior stroke, ma­jor stroke risk fac­tors in­clude: • High blood pres­sure

— It’s the most im­por­tant con­trol­lable risk fac­tor for stroke. About 77 per­cent of peo­ple who have a first stroke have blood pres­sure higher than 140/90 mm Hg. An es­ti­mated 93 mil­lion Amer­i­cans have hy­per­ten­sion. • Tran­sient is­chemic at­tack – About 15 per­cent of strokes are pre­ceded by a TIA (or “min­istroke”). • Atrial fib­ril­la­tion (Afib)

— It in­creases stroke risk up to five times and af­fects more than 2.7 mil­lion Amer­i­cans. • Smok­ing — Cur­rent

smok­ers have two to four times the stroke risk of non­smok­ers or those who quit more than 10 years ago.

If any of th­ese risk fac­tors are present, it is im­por­tant to fol­low up with a pri­mary care physi­cian on a yearly ba­sis.

“Stroke is the lead­ing cause of dis­abil­ity and long term care ad­mis­sion among work­ing adults 65 years of age and younger in Arkansas,” said Ap­pathu­rai Bala­mu­ru­gan, MD, DrPH, State Chronic Disease Direc­tor and Med­i­cal Direc­tor for the ADH Chronic Disease Branch. “It’s im­por­tant for peo­ple to know the warn­ing signs and seek help im­me­di­ately. Many strokes are pre­ventable with life­style mod­i­fi­ca­tion such as smok­ing ces­sa­tion, low salt diet, eat­ing more fruits and veg­eta­bles, reg­u­lar ex­er­cise, and good blood pres­sure con­trol, and the Depart­ment of Health is here as a re­source for peo­ple who are want­ing to make life­style changes.”

Arkansas is work­ing to make strides in the treat­ment of acute stroke, through the AR SAVES tele­stroke sys­tem, Mercy tele­stroke, and the Arkansas Stroke Ready Hos­pi­tal (ArSRH) des­ig­na­tion pro­gram. Know the warn­ing signs and take Ac­tion. Re­mem­ber BE FAST!

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