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FOR RELEASE: May 17 , 2006
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Stroke is Oklahoma’s Third Leading Cause of Death
May is National Stroke Prevention and Control Month

Stroke is Oklahoma’s third leading cause of death. Everyday, six Oklahomans die from a stroke and 36 are hospitalized for a stroke. In Oklahoma, 57 percent of adult Oklahomans are unaware of all of the signs and symptoms of a stroke. It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms and react because every second counts, according to public health officials at the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH).

Stroke is a medical emergency. OSDH officials are asking people to learn these warning signs of stroke and teach them to others:

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

Call 9-1-1 immediately if you experience symptoms! Time lost is brain lost!
Today, stroke doesn’t have to lead to disability or death. The key is to recognize a stroke and get to the hospital immediately. The clot-dissolving drug tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) can reduce long-term disability if it is given within three hours after an ischemic stroke starts. Ischemic strokes are caused by clots in the brain and are by far the most common type of stroke. Unfortunately, tPA isn’t used as often as it could be because many people don’t seek care quickly.

Transient ischemic strokes or “mini” strokes have the same signs and symptoms as a full stroke, so be aware, recognize and react. It is important to have the “mini” stroke evaluated by your health care provider. Over one-third of persons with “mini” strokes go on to have a full stroke.

To help prevent a stroke, follow these precautions:

  • If you have high blood pressure, be sure to control your condition and keep your blood pressure readings at 140/90.
  • If you have diabetes, be sure to manage your diabetes by controlling your blood glucose levels so that HgAlc is at 7 or below.
  • If you have high blood cholesterol, be sure to control your condition so that your HDL is greater than 40.
  • If you are a smoker, then stop smoking.
  • If you are a person of African American descent and have sickle cell anemia, work closely with your health care provider to manage your disease.

For more information about stroke, contact your local county health department or the Chronic Disease Service of the Oklahoma State Department of Health at 405/271-4072.

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