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News: May is National Stroke Awareness Month

More than 800,000 people die in the U.S. each year from cardiovascular disease and strokes. May is stroke awareness month and Centegra Health System is committed to decreasing the death and disability rates in the McHenry County area.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds. Every four minutes someone dies of stroke. In addition, stroke is a leading cause of serious long-term disability and a leading cause of death in the United States.People of all ages and backgrounds can have a stroke.

A stroke is also called a brain attack and occurs when a clot blocks the blood supply to the brain (ischemic) or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts (hemorrhagic), according to Sarah A. Vela, chest pain and stroke coordinator at Centegra Health System. When a stroke occurs, the blood supply to the brain is blocked or significantly decreased. The cells in the brain begin dying immediately.”This is a medical emergency and every minute counts, Vela said. “Time is brain. The faster the bleeding is stopped or that clot is broken up, the less injury the brain will have.”Vela said signs and symptoms of a stroke include the following:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body-facial droop or uneven smile
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking (slurred speech) or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

“If a person experiences any of these signs or symptoms, he or she should call 9-1-1 immediately,” Vela said. “Do not try to drive or get a ride. Emergency medical personnel can begin life saving treatment on arrival. Remember that time is brain.”Vela said it’s also important to make note of the time the symptoms began since treatment is time sensitive. Initial testing in a Centegra hospital emergency department will include an immediate CT scan of the brain, also known as a specialized x-ray of the brain; a neurological examination; intravenous access and blood tests.Risk factors related to stroke are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, smoking, heavy alcohol use, physical inactivity and obesity, atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat) and a family history of stroke.

Check the risk of stroke by getting a vascular screening for $129 on Centegra Wellness on the Move mobile health unit. Call 877-CENTEGRA (877-236-8347) for dates, locations and to register.

Centegra Health System is committed to meeting the healthcare needs of the residents of greater McHenry County and to making services available in multiple and convenient locations, including hospitals in McHenry and Woodstock, Immediate and Physician Care Centers, Centegra Sage Cancer Center, Health Bridge Fitness Centers and the widely anticipated Centegra Hospital–Huntley slated for opening in 2016.

As the region’s leading healthcare provider, Centegra Health System continues to bring the latest treatments and technology, along with the skills of nearly 4,000 medical professionals, to meet the needs of the growing McHenry County community. For more information on Centegra Health System, find us on Facebook and Twitter or call 877-CENTEGRA (877-236-8347).