For immediate release:
April 24, 2012
INDIANAPOLIS - As May, Stroke Awareness Month, approaches, State Rep. Vernon G. Smith (D-Gary) recommended that Hoosiers become familiar with the symptoms of stroke because quick action can significantly reduce tragic, lifetime effects and even save lives.
“Many people do not realize that stroke is the third, most frequent cause of death in our country,” said Smith. “Stroke is also the leading cause of serious, long-term disability. While most strokes occur in people older than 65, there is an increasing incidence of stroke among people from the age of 5 to 45. Also, stroke death rates for blacks is higher than for whites.”
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 795,000 stokes occur each year in the United States. Twenty-five percent of all strokes affect Americans younger than 65 years of age. After the age of 55, the chances of having a stroke double for every decade that passes.
Smith noted the signs and symptoms of stroke.
“If there is numbness or weakness of the arm, leg or face, especially on one side of the body, then you should be concerned,” said Smith. “If you notice the person seems confused, has trouble speaking or understanding you, that is also a sign. Trouble seeing is another symptom as is difficulty walking with dizziness or a loss of balance or coordination. Another sign is a severe headache that seems to have no cause. If you notice these symptoms, please call 9-1-1 immediately. You could save that person’s life or prevent them from retaining a permanent, severe disability.”
Smith said there are lifestyle changes one can make to reduce the risk of stroke. These include controlling high blood pressure, exercising, maintaining a healthy diet and losing weight as well as not consuming too much alcohol.