National Stroke Association Launches 'Ask Your Doctor' Stroke Campaign; Alabama Stroke Death Rates on the Rise Since 1994
From: Kay Wan of the National Stroke Association, 303-754-0918 or 303-521-1695 (cell) or Paul Taylor of the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, 251-461-1509
It crosses all social, economic and gender barriers. It often hits people so quickly, there's little time to react unless you recognize the symptoms. Every year 750,000 Americans suffer a stroke or brain attack. Remarkably, up to 80 percent are preventable.
The southeastern United States has been identified as the "Stroke Belt," where stroke mortality rates are 150 percent of the national average. An even deadlier "Stroke Buckle" exists along that region's coastline, where deaths from strokes are twice the national average.
National Stroke Association (NSA) is launching a national multi-year stroke education campaign in the southeastern United States. The inaugural year's theme is Ask Your Doctor -- Am I at Risk for Stroke? NSA encourages doctors and patients to discuss strokes more often. In a 2001 survey of Alabama adults, almost two-thirds are overweight and more than one-third has high blood pressure, two key risk factors for stroke.
"Stroke prevention remains the best treatment of stroke and aggressive, ongoing public and professional education is essential in the fight to reduce stroke incidence," explained Richard Zweifler, medical director for the USA Stroke Center and associate professor of neurology at the USA College of Medicine.
NSA recently conducted a doctor/patient poll to find out where people seek the latest information on stroke. Here are a few results:
-- Eighty-seven percent of people say they see their primary care doctors regularly, but only 30 percent say stroke is discussed.
-- One in five adults claim they have no idea how to reduce their risk of stroke.
-- Fifteen percent of adults cannot recognize one stroke symptom.
-- One in five health care providers do not treat stroke as an emergency.
"I too often see patients who have sudden strokes, and at that point it is too late, except to prevent further damage. People who were very independent and self-reliant are now having to depend on someone else for everything from feeding to getting dressed. Strokes do not have to happen. Keep your blood pressure under control," said Dr. Regina Benjamin, a family physician and Alabama's "Ask Your Doctor" chairperson.
National Stroke Association, in conjunction with University of South Alabama Stroke Center, will host a media opportunity to announce the "Ask Your Doctor" campaign in Alabama.
When: Monday, August 4 at 10 a.m.
Where: USA Medical Center 2nd Floor Board Room, 2451 Fillingim St., Mobile, Ala.
Who: NSA, Dr. Richard Zweifler (Medical Director, USA Stroke Center), Alabama Senator Vivian Figures (Advocate for Stroke Education and Prevention), Jane Higdon, local stroke patient.
Individual doctor and stroke survivor interviews available after media opportunity.
National Stroke Association is a leading independent national non-profit organization devoting its efforts and resources to stroke - including prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and support for stroke survivors and their families. Contact the National Stroke Association at 1-800-STROKES or visit http://www.stroke.org.
The USA Stroke Center provides leading-edge care for patients along the upper Gulf Coast region and actively participates in stroke research and educational programs designed to improve the lives of those impacted by stroke.