NY City Council Focus On Strokes

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[New York: Eye On City Hall]

May is National Stroke Awareness Month.

Council Member Dr. Mathieu Eugene is helping to focus attention on this malady by introducing legislation declaring the fourth Wed. in May (May 27) Stroke Awareness Day in the City of New York.

Stroke is a brain attack that cuts off vital blood flow and oxygen to the brain, causing brain cells to die and brain damage to occur. This often affects speech, movement and memory. Although up to 80 percent of strokes are preventable, stroke is the third leading cause of death in the US and a leading cause of adult disability. People of African descent are twice as likely to die from stroke as Caucasians.

“This disease is devastating far too many lives,” Council Member Eugene declared. “Not only is it a cause of great mental and emotional anguish to the stroke victim and their loved ones, but it has a negative impact on the economy because the person cannot work and take care of their family or contribute to their community.

Furthermore, all too often, at taxpayers expense, the government has to step in and take care of the person, especially if they have no insurance,” he continued. “Therefore, I believe that we, as elected officials, have a responsibility to do everything we can to make sure people know how to prevent stroke, how to recognize the warning signs, and what to do if they believe someone else is suffering a stroke. But the good news is, stroke can be prevented.”

In order to prevent stroke, the National Stroke Association advises:

• Get checked for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. If you have any of these conditions, take measures to control them.
• If you smoke, stop.
• If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.
• Maintain a proper weight, eat a low-salt diet and include exercise in your daily routine.
• Find out if you have atrial fibrillation, which encourages the formation of blood clots, or any other circulation problems that could increase the risk of stroke.

Warning signs of stroke are: 1) Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body, 2) Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding, 3) Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes, 4) Sudden difficulty walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination, and 5) Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

“If you experience any of these stroke symptoms, don't wait,” urges Council Member Eugene. “Stroke is a medical emergency that strikes fast and so should you. Call 911 and get immediate medical attention.”

The councilmember also recommends use of what is called the FAST method for recognizing and responding to stroke symptoms:

F = FACE Ask the person to smile. Does one side of their face droop?
A = ARMS Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S = SPEECH Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Does their speech sound slurred or strange?
T = TIME If you observe any of these signs, it's time to call 911 or get the person to the nearest hospital as FAST as possible! Even if the person protests – denial is common – don't take "no" for an answer. Insist on taking prompt action.

“Although no one likes to think of such a thing ever happening to them or someone close to them, we all need to be prepared in advance,” says Council Member Dr. Mathieu Eugene. “Keep a list of emergency rescue service numbers next to your phone and in your wallet or purse. Find out which of your area hospitals provide 24-hour emergency stroke care. Know which medical facility is nearest to your home or office. The life you save may be your own”

For further information, call the National Stroke Association at 1 (800) STROKES or visit www.stroke.org.

Please post your comments directly online or submit them for publication to Milton@blackstarnews.com

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