Friday, April 24, 2009

Metro Atlanta Hospitals Challenged to Conduct 100,000 Stroke Screenings in One Day

American Stroke Association Urges Local Participation in Stroke Awareness Day

Hospitals throughout metro Atlanta are being challenged to administer a combined 100,000 free stroke screenings on Saturday, May 2, 2009 as part of the Metro Atlanta American Stroke Association’s Stroke Awareness Day.

The local American Stroke Association has issued the challenge as part of efforts to focus consumer attention on National Stroke Awareness Month in May, which was created in order to make Americans aware that stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States. According to a 2008 Georgia Department of Human Resources report, Georgia’s stroke death rate is 16% higher than the national rate, accounting for 6% (3,826) of all deaths.

A stroke occurs when blood vessels carrying oxygen and other nutrients to the brain become blocked by a clot and burst, impeding oxygen and blood flow. Without oxygen, the brain’s ability to function is hindered. The part of the brain that is affected, in turn, impairs other bodily functions resulting in paralysis, speech and vision problems.

“Knowing your risk is the first step in preventing a possible stroke,” said Mary Robichaux, the American Stroke Association’s vice president of quality initiatives and improvements. “While some factors are not controllable, many are. With proper diagnosis it’s possible to help decrease your personal risk.”

Controllable risk factors include high blood pressure and cholesterol, poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking and other lifestyle choices. Working with a doctor to make gradual changes to your daily routine can greatly reduce the risk of stroke. Unfortunately, not all risk factors can be controlled. Age, gender, family medical history, previous strokes and current heart conditions all play a role in determining risk. Race is also a factor. African-Americans are twice as likely to have a stroke due to a high prevalence of high blood pressure, tobacco use and obesity.

Being able to recognize the warning signs of the onset of stroke can make the difference between life, death and disability. If you experience any of the following symptoms you should immediately seek emergency care:

· Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
· Confusion or trouble speaking
· Sudden complications in vision in one or both eyes
· Trouble walking, dizziness or loss of balance and coordination
· Sudden severe headache with no known cause
“We believe this challenge is an excellent step in educating the community about stroke,” said Robichaux.

The free stroke screenings will take place at Atlanta Medical Center and Emory University, Grady, North Fulton Regional, Saint Joseph’s, Piedmont and Wellstar Hospitals.

For more information on stroke or to find the nearest hospital participating in Stroke Awareness Day on May 2nd, visit For more information on African-Americans and stroke, visit Power to End Stroke is a national campaign dedicated to making African-Americans aware of their stroke risk
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