The month of May is Stroke Month and I would like to invite you to join us in spreading the word to raise awareness among friends, family and the community.
Stroke is the #3 cause of death in America and the #1 cause of long term disability. In addition, the burden of stroke is greater among African Americans than in any other group. In fact, not only do blacks have almost twice the risk of first-ever stroke compared with whites, but blacks 35-54 years old have four times the relative risk for stroke. But, no matter what racial or ethnic group you belong to, you can still be at risk. The good news is that there is hope. We all have the power to fight stroke – and win!
The first step is to know your family history. It is important to talk to your parents, grandparents and even great grandparents to learn the history of health in your family and then make sure it is passed down from generation to generation.
Next, know your numbers. Be sure to see your doctor regularly and communicate any changes in your health since the last visit. In addition, have your blood pressure checked as well as your cholesterol and glucose screened. Be sure to write these numbers down and keep them in a safe place until your next health check. Knowing these numbers can help reduce your risk by watching what you eat and becoming active.
Here are the desirable numbers:
- Blood Pressure : Below 120-80
- Cholesterol: Less than 200 total for LDL and HDL
- Glucose: 99 or lower (level at fasting)
The final step is to know the warning signs which include (easily remembered from head to toe):
- Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, please call 911 immediately.
If you haven’t already, please join me in the movement to increase awareness about how we can fight stroke by clicking on the link below and taking the pledge to stay informed and live a healthy lifestyle. Then send this email to at least 5 other people so that they can do the same. This simple action can make a big impact. And together we can build healthier communities that are strong and most of all using their power to end stroke!
Join the movement and take the pledge: http://www.bayareapower.org/signup.php
Vicki S. Williams, MS
Director, African American Cultural Health Initiatives
American Heart Association
426 17th Street
Oakland, CA 94612
Office: (510) 904-4015
Fax: (510) 904-4004