Reducing risk factors, recognizing stroke symptoms saves lives

By: S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control
By: S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control

COLUMBIA - May is National Stroke Awareness Month, and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control urges South Carolinians to reduce risk factors and recognize the warning signs of stroke.

"Stroke is a leading cause of serious, long-term disability, and is the third leading cause of death in South Carolina, resulting in 2,631 deaths during 2004," said Dory Masters, director of DHEC's Division of Cardiovascular Health. "There are several ways you can reduce your risk of stroke. Get your blood pressure checked and if it is high, work with your doctor to get it in control. Stay active, eat a healthy diet, use less salt, drink alcohol in moderation if you drink at all, get your cholesterol level checked and stay smoke-free."

  • Masters said call for emergency assistance immediately if you or someone you know experiences any of these symptoms:
  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body;
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding;
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes;
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination; or
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause.

"DHEC's Division of Cardiovascular Health works with community partners and healthcare systems to improve the cardiovascular health and quality of life of South Carolinians," Masters said. "We do this through the prevention, detection and treatment of risk factors; early identification and treatment of cardiovascular diseases; and prevention of recurrent cardiovascular events."


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