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Stroke risk, prevention focus of Wellness Wednesday

Stop by Health 1st’s Wellness Wednesday table in the Children’s Hospital lobby between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. July 30 to receive a risk assessment card  on stroke  and prevention. Blood pressure checks also will be provided.

by Kristy Conley
Critical Care & Emergency Services/Stroke Program
Stroke remains the third leading cause of death and the major cause of disability in the United States. Stroke can impair or completely limit your ability to talk, think, remember, walk and even breathe. It is estimated that in 2008, Americans will pay close to $65 billion in stroke-related medical and disability costs. The impact of stroke can be devastating for both patient and caregivers.

Know the signs and symptoms of stroke
  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm, or leg —especially one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking and/or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance/coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause
If you see someone with signs and symptoms of stroke —act FAST( F = Face—Does one side of the face droop?; A = Arm—Does one arm drift downward?; S = Speech—Are the words slurred? Can he/she repeat a sentence clearly?; T = Time—Time is crucial. Call 911 immediately.)

Are you at risk for stroke? (Add up risks and talk with your doctor)
  • Is your blood pressure above 120/80?
  • Do you have diabetes?
  • Do you have high cholesterol?
  • Do you have atrial fibrillation? (irregular or racing heart beat)
  • Do you smoke, eat unhealthy, or exercise infrequently?
  • Are you overweight?
  • Do you drink more than two alcoholic drinks a day?
  • Do you have circulation problems?
Strokes are preventable
A recent national poll reported that less than 30 percent of patients talked to their doctor about stroke during their annual exam.
  • High blood pressure is the leading cause of stroke. If your blood pressure is consistently above 120/80 (pre-hypertension) your doctor should monitor your blood pressure frequently.
  • Know your cholesterol. Your combined LDL and HDL should be under 200.
  • If you have atrial fibrillation, work with your doctor.
  • If you smoke, stop.
  • Exercise 30 minutes daily and eat a low salt, low fat diet.
  • If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.
MUSC has demonstrated its commitment to stroke prevention and treatment by becoming a certified primary stroke center with comprehensive stroke care. Its mission is to provide standardized and evidenced-based care to all stroke patients. MUSC offers top quality care and a variety of treatment options including innovative stroke trials and neuro-interventional procedures unavailable elsewhere in the state. Follow-up, recovery and rehabilitation programs are also available.

Editor's note: The preceding column was brought to you on behalf of Health 1st. Striving to bring various topics and representing numerous employee wellness organizations and committees on campus, this weekly column seeks to provide MUSC, MUHA and UMA employees with current and helpful information concerning all aspects of health.

Friday, July 25, 2008
Catalyst Online is published weekly, updated as needed and improved from time to time by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.