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Illinois Health Department Commemorates World Stroke Day

State Stroke Subcommittee improving emergency care for stroke patients

CHICAGO –(ENEWSPF)–October 29, 2012.  Stroke kills more people worldwide than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined, and an estimated 1 in 6 people will have a stroke in their lifetime. Stroke is also the third leading cause of death in Illinois. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is urging residents to learn the signs and symptoms of stroke, and learn how to reduce their risk for stroke today, on World Stroke Day.

“World Stroke Day provides the opportunity to learn about recognizing symptoms of stroke, as well as how to significantly reduce risk factors for stroke such as maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol consumption and quitting smoking,” IDPH Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck said.

World Stroke Day is observed every October 29th to raise awareness and share life-saving information about healthier lifestyles and behaviors that can reduce or altogether prevent stroke. Stroke is a type of cardiovascular disease or “brain attack” where blood flow to a part of the brain stops. Treatments are available to minimize the potentially devastating effects of stroke, but to receive them, it is important to recognize the warning signs and act quickly.

Major stroke risk factors include diabetes, obesity, family history of stroke, high cholesterol, excessive alcohol consumption, increasing age (especially after 55), and smoking. Recognizing symptoms of stroke is critical to surviving it. Stroke symptoms include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg (especially on one side of the body)
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

In Illinois, a State Stroke Advisory Subcommittee was formed in 2011 with the goal of ensuring that acute stroke patients receive the best, targeted care statewide at the closest facility possible. The Subcommittee is an advisory body to the Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council, and works on strategies to improve triage, treatment and transport services for possible acute stroke patients.

The Subcommittee, comprised of representatives from emergency medical services, health care providers, fire department chiefs and stroke patient advocates from around the state, is developing a statewide stroke assessment tool to help emergency service personnel assess and recognize potential stroke patients. Once approved, IDPH will disseminate the assessment tool to all emergency medical services system across the state for adoption.

The next subcommittee meeting is being held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thursday, November 15, 2012 at the Morton Fire Department, 300 W. Courtland St., Morton. The meeting is open to the public.

For more information about stroke awareness, please visit the Illinois Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program page at http://www.idph.state.il.us/heartstroke/index.htm.

Source: idph.state.il.us

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