For Immediate Release
May 12, 2011

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

May is National Stroke Awareness Month

In honor of National Stroke Awareness Month, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment encourages Kansans to learn the risk factors, signs and symptoms of a stroke.

In 2009, stroke was the fourth leading cause of death in Kansas. Prompt access to medical care is crucial for preventing death and disability from stroke. The initial step in accessing medical care is recognizing the signs and symptoms of a stroke as it occurs and calling 911. Only 23 percent of Kansas adults could correctly recognize all signs and symptoms of a stroke and the appropriate response to call 911.

“Stroke is a medical emergency that can cause permanent disability and death,” said Dr. Robert Moser, Secretary, Kansas Department of Health and Environment. “More than half of stroke deaths occur before the person reaches a hospital, clinic or medical facility. Fortunately, this can be prevented if medical care is accessed without delay.”

The chance that you will survive and recover from a stroke is higher if you get emergency treatment right away. If you notice any signs or symptoms of a stroke, call 9-1-1 immediately. The following are signs of stroke: 

Anyone can have a stroke, so it is important to understand the risk factors that can lead to it. There are certain risk factors beyond your control, including age, gender, ethnicity and family history, but fortunately, most behaviors and medical conditions that increase stroke risk can be prevented or controlled. Quitting smoking, limiting alcohol use, being physically active, eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight and controlling high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes are some of the ways to reduce your risk of having a stroke. High cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes are risk factors that can be controlled and managed with the help of a healthcare professional.

“If you have risk factors for stroke, it is important to make healthy lifestyle choices and manage any medical conditions you may have. Have your cholesterol tested at least once every five years and monitor your blood pressure on a regular basis. If you have diabetes, closely monitor your blood sugar levels. Take time to talk with your health care provider about treatment options”, said Moser.

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