For Immediate Release
May 17, 2010

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

National Stroke Awareness Month

May is National Stroke Awareness Month and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) urges Kansans to learn how to prevent stroke and symptoms associated with stroke.

“Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in Kansas, accounting for about one in 16 deaths in 2008,” said Roderick Bremby, KDHE Secretary.

Some populations in Kansas are at an especially high risk for stroke. The prevalence of stroke is more than five times higher among Kansas adults with a disability compared with those without disability.  The American Stroke Association also recognizes other vulnerable populations such as women and African Americans as having a high risk for stroke. 

Fortunately, many strokes are preventable if steps are taken to reduce the risk. Behaviors such as tobacco use, alcohol use and physical inactivity can increase risk of stroke. Although some risk factors such as age, gender, and family history are uncontrollable, most behaviors and medical conditions that increase stroke risk can be prevented or controlled by making lifestyle changes. 

“Quitting smoking, being physically active and being at a healthy weight can reduce your risk of stroke,” said Dr. Eberhart-Phillips. “It is also important to be actively aware of your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers.”

In addition to preventing stroke, knowing stroke symptoms can save lives and prevent further physical and cognitive impairments. Call 9-1-1 immediately at the first sign of stroke.  The following are signs of stroke and appear suddenly: 

For more information on stroke, contact the Kansas Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program at 785-291-3195.