Monday, April 27, 2009

Piedmont Hospital Offers Stroke Screening and Education on Stroke Outreach Day

Joins with Other Atlanta Hospitals in Challenge to Conduct 100,000 Free Screenings

The local American Stroke Association issued a challenge to metro Atlanta hospitals for them to conduct a combined total of 100,000 free stroke screenings as part of efforts to focus consumer attention on National Stroke Awareness Month in May.

Piedmont Hospital is rising to the challenge and will offer free stroke screenings and education on Saturday, May 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the 77 Building, Level M. Participants will complete a stroke risk assessment, receive a blood pressure check and speak with a stroke educator as well as experts in rehabilitation, fitness and nutrition. A pharmacist also will be available to discuss blood-thinning medications such as Coumadin as well as those for high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes -- all related to risk factors for stroke. The first 50 participants will receive a T-shirt.

“A stroke is preventable, but not if you don’t take the time to learn your level of risk,” said neurologist Doug Stuart, M.D. “We encourage everyone to take part in this 100,000 stroke screening challenge. The screening is free, but the education you will receive about stroke is priceless.”

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 percent higher than the national rate, accounting for 6 percent (3,826) of all deaths.

A stroke occurs when blood vessels carrying oxygen and other nutrients to the brain become blocked by a clot or 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.

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

For more information on Piedmont Hospital, visit
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