COLUMBIA, Mo. — As part of Stroke Awareness Month in May, health care providers at University Hospital are offering screenings for those who may be at risk.
University Hospital staff members will offer free stroke-health screenings from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, May 20, in the main lobby of University Hospital. Health care providers will check blood pressure and body mass index, and screen for other risk factors.
“Stroke prevention and awareness is important for everyone,” said Leigh Kite, R.N., M.S.N. CNL, stroke program coordinator at University Hospital. “It can occur at any time and any age, from prenatal to adulthood. But research shows that by recognizing risk factors and practicing proper lifestyle management, the instances of stroke in most cases can be reduced by 80 percent.”
According to the American Stroke Association, approximately 800,000 individuals in the United States suffer a stroke each year, and more than 600,000 are first-time attacks. This deadly condition accounts for one out of every 18 deaths in the United States.
A stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery or a break in a blood vessel causes an interruption of blood flow to the brain. This interruption cuts off the brain’s oxygen supply and destroys brain cells. If the stroke isn’t fatal, it can still affect memory, movement and speech.
Although some strokes are not preventable, lifestyle changes can reduce the chances for someone considered high-risk for stroke. Risk factors that are manageable include:
• Atrial fibrillation issues such as heart palpitations, dizziness and fluttering or racing sensations in the chest
• High cholesterol
• Tobacco and excessive alcohol use
• Physical inactivity
• High Blood Pressure
• Obstructive Sleep Apnea
“Removing risk factors such as smoking and excessive alcohol use and leading a healthier, less sedentary lifestyle can make a big difference in reducing the chances of stroke,” said Kite. “Know your blood pressure, find out if you have atrial fibrillation, and if you have high cholesterol, get that under control with medication.”
For more information on stroke prevention and awareness call (573) 884-6019.