Health and Family Services Cabinet
Learn the Signs and Symptoms of Stroke
May is Stroke Awareness Month
The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) is working to promote American Stroke Month throughout May to help raise awareness about the dangers of stroke.
This year’s campaign focuses on increasing the number of stroke patients who receive treatment for stroke, raising public awareness of stroke signs and symptoms and helping improve health care for stroke patients.
“Though there are treatments available that can reverse disability from stroke, fewer than 5 percent of patients throughout the country receive them,” said DPH Commissioner William Hacker, M.D. “We have to start reversing this trend and doing what we can to ensure that stroke patients are recognized sooner, receive the best treatment possible and return to a sound quality of life once the recovery period is complete.”
Stroke is the third-leading cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability nationwide. Stroke accounted for 6 percent (2,168) of all deaths in Kentucky in 2005, ranking the commonwealth 16th in the nation for stroke death rates.
“It’s extremely important that we educate our fellow Kentuckians about stroke, how to recognize the symptoms and how to act,” said Bonita Bobo, manager of the Kentucky Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program in DPH. “Getting stroke victims to the hospital immediately can greatly increase their chance of having little or no disability.”
In many cases, Bobo said, a person experiencing a stroke does not realize it’s occurring, but symptoms typically are visible to bystanders who should remember to act quickly and call 911. She advised that these symptoms generally are quite sudden and include:
- Numbness or weakness of the face or an arm or leg — especially on one side of the body.
- Confusion, trouble speaking or difficulty understanding.
- Trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
- Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
- Severe headache with no known cause.
To learn more about stroke or the DPH’s heart disease and stroke prevention program, contact Bobo at (502) 564-7996 or e-mail BonitaA.Bobo@ky.gov or visit the department’s Web site at http://chfs.ky.gov/dph/info/dpqi/cd/cardiovascular.htm.
More information also is available through the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association, at http://www.strokeassociation.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=1200037.