American Heart Association Aims to Reduce the Risk of Stroke

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

By: Ashmar Mandou

May is American Stroke Month and according to the American Heart Association someone in the United States suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and every four minutes, someone dies of stroke. In the Latino community the statistics are astonishing. Among Hispanics, 72 percent had high blood pressure, which is the leading risk factor for stroke, compared to 66 percent in Caucasian.

“Anyone can have stroke and everyone should be ready,” said Dr. Demetrius Lopes, a surgical director of the comprehensive stroke center at Rush University Medical Center. “Learning how to spot a stroke is just as important as teaching your family CPR or what to do in the event of a fire. With Stroke, just like a cardiac arrest or a fire, seconds count,” said Dr. Lopes. Among other key findings pertaining to the Latino community:

  • Stroke prevalence is projected to increase the most among Hispanic men between now and 2030.
  • Diabetes increases stroke risk at all ages. Hispanics and other ethnic minorities bear a disproportionate burden of diabetes in the U.S.
  • Hispanic women were less likely than others to know most of the warning signs of a stroke – 25 percent did not know any, compared to 18 percent for whites and 19 percent for blacks.

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

Dr. Lopes advises families during American Stroke Month to speak with their family physician about living a healthier lifestyle. “It is extremely important now that the weather is warming up that families exercise together. A light jog, or walk around the neighborhood is sufficient. The key is for people, especially those who experience high blood pressure to keep active…moderate exercise and healthy eating habits help reduce the risk of stroke.” Dr. Lopes with the help of the American Heart Association shared symptoms to look out for if a person experiences stroke.

F.A.S.T. is:

* F – Face Drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.

* A – Arm Weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

* S – Speech Difficulty: 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 to call 9-1-1: If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.

Dr. Demetrius Lopes

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