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Saturday, June 25, 2022

Marion County health officials share warning signs, prevention tips during ‘Stroke Awareness Month’

The Florida Department of Health in Marion County (FDOH-Marion) recognizes May as ‘Stroke Awareness Month,’ an observance that highlights the importance of knowing the risk factors and symptoms of a stroke.

Across the country, as well as in Florida, stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death and a major cause of serious disability for adults. Although stroke risk increases with age, a stroke can happen at any age.

According to recent data from the Florida Department of Health, Marion County had the fourth-lowest death rate for strokes among Florida’s 67 counties. In contrast, the county’s hospitalization rate for strokes exceeded the statewide rate, and has done so for the last 14 years.

The data also indicated that 6.3% of adults in Marion County have been told at some point that they have had a stroke, which nearly doubles the state rate and is the sixth-highest percentage in Florida.

“While we are fortunate that our community has a relatively low death rate from stoke, other data shows that stroke is an issue we must take seriously,” said Mark Lander, FDOH-Marion Administrator.

Lander continued by stating, “For that reason, it is critical that people are able to recognize the symptoms of a stroke and understand (that) stroke is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention.”

Stroke is no different from any other medical condition since the best way to avoid it is to take steps to prevent it. According to StrokeAssociation.org, some steps you can take to prevent a stroke include monitoring your blood pressure, controlling your cholesterol, keeping your blood sugar down, staying active, eating healthier, losing weight if necessary, avoiding excessive alcohol consumption, and not smoking.

FDOH-Marion recommends for anyone with questions about preventative measures to speak with their healthcare provider.

The most important part of getting timely treatment for a stroke is to know and understand the warning signs as described by the ‘B.E. F.A.S.T.’ acronym:

  • B (Balance): Is the person suddenly having trouble with balance or coordination?
  • E (Eyes): Is the person suddenly experiencing blurred or double vision, or a sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes without pain?
  • F (Face): Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
  • A (Arms): Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • S (Speech): Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence like, “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
  • T (Time): If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, it is time to call 911 and get them to the hospital immediately.

For more information about strokes and stroke prevention, visit the American Stroke Association or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention webpages.