For Immediate Release
May 18, 2009

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

May is National Stroke and High Blood Pressure Month

May is National Stroke and High Blood Pressure Month, and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is seeking to increase public awareness of how to improve prevention and control of stroke and high blood pressure.

High blood pressure affects nearly 1 in 3 adults in the U.S., and is a major risk factor for stroke.  High blood pressure is defined as systolic blood pressure greater than or equal to 140, or diastolic blood pressure 90 or higher, measured in millimeters of mercury on a blood pressure gauge. The goal of treatment is to lower blood pressure to less than 120/80.

Smoking is also an important risk factor for stroke.  The nicotine and carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke damage the cardiovascular system in many ways.  The use of oral contraceptives combined with cigarette smoking greatly increases stroke risk. 

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in Kansas, accounting for about 1 in 16 deaths in 2007.
According to the American Stroke Association, about 795,000 Americans each year suffer a new or recurrent stroke. That means a stroke occurs every 40 seconds, on average.
The warning signs of stroke appear suddenly, and can include any or all of the following:

Being able to recognize these symptoms can save your life. If you recognize the signs of stroke in yourself or another person, call 9-1-1 immediately and get to a hospital quickly. 
Kansans who are ready to quit smoking to reduce their stroke risk are encouraged to call the toll-free Kansas Tobacco Quitline 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). Experienced quit coaches work with callers to prepare for a quit date and help them create a personalized quit plan.
For more information about tobacco, high blood pressure or stroke, please visit