COLUMBIA - May is National Stroke Awareness Month, and the S.C.
Department of Health and Environmental Control urges South Carolinians to learn how to reduce the risk of stroke.
"Reducing risk factors, recognizing the signs of stroke and fast reaction saves lives," said Dory Masters, director of DHEC’s Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Division. "We want everyone to be able to take some simple steps to reduce risk factors, recognize the warning signs of stroke, and know the importance of calling 9-1-1 immediately if symptoms occur.
"Stroke is the third-leading cause of death in South Carolina, resulting in 2,449 deaths during 2005," Masters said. "A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it needs, so it starts to die. High blood pressure, tobacco use, diabetes, heart disease, poor eating habits and physical inactivity are stroke risk factors that can be changed, treated or controlled, thus increasing your chances of remaining stroke-free."
Masters said research shows the public remains unaware of stroke's warning signs and the need for immediate medical attention, even if the symptoms subside. So, if any of the following five stroke signs suddenly occur, do not delay, call 9-1-1 immediately:
Walk - is balance off?
Talk - is speech slurred or face droopy?
Reach - is one side weak or numb?
See - is vision all or partially lost?
Feel - is headache severe?
DHEC's Division of Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention works with community partners and health care systems to improve the cardiovascular health and quality of life of South Carolinians through the prevention, detection and treatment of risk factors; early identification and treatment of cardiovascular diseases; and prevention of recurrent cardiovascular events.
For more information, see DHEC’s Web site at: