Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in Georgia. It is also a leading but preventable cause of disability. It can happen at any age.
Georgia is in a geographic region called the “stroke belt,” a region identified based on high rates of stroke mortality. In 2013, stroke death rates in Georgia was 14% higher than the U.S. average. It was the fourth leading cause of death among Georgians, accounting for 3,665 deaths, or 5% of all deaths. Stroke caused more than 21,000 hospitalizations and over $1 billion in hospital charges in 2013 in Georgia. For both men and women in Georgia, age-adjusted stroke mortality and hospitalization rates are higher for blacks than whites. click here to view these statistics and more on the 2015 Legislature Stroke Report.
WHAT IS A STROKE?
A stroke is a medical emergency. It is often referred to as a "brain attack" because the blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and nutrient. When this happens, brain cells start to die and abilities controlled by that area of the brain, such as memory and muscle control, are lost.
Stroke: The Reality Part 1: What does it really mean?
SIGNS OF STROKE
All of the major symptoms of stroke appear suddenly, and without warning and they are often not painful but still need to be taken seriously.
The most common symptoms of stroke can be remembered by the acronym FAST.
FACE DROOPING: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? As the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?
ARM WEAKNESS: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
SPEECH DIFFICULTY: Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
TIME TO CALL 9-1-1: If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 right away. Check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared. Time is critical!
Beyond F.A.S.T. -- Other Warning Signs of Stroke Include:
- Sudden NUMBNESS or weakness of face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden CONFUSION, trouble speaking or understanding speech
- Sudden TROUBLE SEEING in one or both eyes
- Sudden TROUBLE WALKING, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden SEVERE HEADACHE with no known cause
Call 9-1-1 immediately if you or someone you are with shows any signs of a stroke. Don't hesitate to act! Stroke is a medical emergency.
TYPES OF STROKE
There are three main types of stroke: ischemic, hemorrhagic, and transient ischemic attack.
- Ischemic stroke occurs when the artery to the brain becomes blocked.
- A third of ischemic strokes are classified as non-specific stroke It is a stroke of unknown cause.
- Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when an artery in the brain ru.ptures or breaks open causing bleeding into or around the brain.
- Intracerebral hemorrhage is the most common type of hemorrhagic stroke. It occurs when an artery in the brain bursts, flooding the surrounding tissue with blood.
- Subarachnoid hemorrhage is a less common type of hemorrhagic stroke. It refers to bleeding in the area between the brain and the thin tissues that cover it.
- Transient ischemic attack (TIA or “mini-stroke”) occurs when blood flow to the brain is blocked for only a short time. However, just like the other types of stroke, TIA is a medical emergency. It is a serious warning sign that a stroke may happen in the future. It should not be ignored.
Types of Stroke, GCASR, 2014 (n=15,938)
Many myths surround this disease. Visit the National Stroke Association webpage and see how much you know about stroke http://www.stroke.org/understand-stroke/what-stroke/stroke-facts.
TREATMENT IS CRITICAL FOR STROKE
A stroke is a serious medical condition that requires emergency care. Learning the signs of stroke and calling 911 for help are the best ways to prevent disability and death from stroke. Getting fast treatment is important. It can save your life or someone you love. Time lost is brain lost!
Every 40 seconds, someone has a stroke in the U.S. However, 80% of all strokes are preventable. Reduce your risk through the following healthy lifestyle changes.
- Stop Smoking. Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk of stroke. In 2014, 17% of Georgia adults reported smoking cigarettes. If you smoke, quitting will lower your risk for stroke. Call for free and confidential help available 24 hours every day, 7 days a week.
or 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)
or in Spanish:
or for the Hearing Impaired:
Free mobile text messaging services designed for adults who are trying to quit smoking are also available. Text QUIT to 47848, answer a few questions, and you’ll start receiving encouragement, advice, and tips to help smokers quit smoking and stay quit. For more details, see http://smokefree.gov/smokefreetxt.
For additional guide to help you quit cigarette smoking, including reasons to quit, steps to quit, tips on handling cravings, medications that can help, and what to do if you slip, see CDC's Quit Smoking Guide. http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/quit-smoking/guide/index.html
- Eat Better: Choosing healthy meal and snack options can help you avoid stroke and its complications. For more information, visit the ChooseMyPlate site.
- Get Active. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower your cholesterol and blood pressure levels. For adults, the U.S. Surgeon General recommends 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, like brisk walking or bicycling, every week. Children and adolescents should get 1 hour of physical activity every day. To get started on exercising regularly, click here. For additional videos offering physical activity basics, click here.
- Lose Weight. Being overweight or obese increases your risk of stroke. Healthy eating habits and physical activity are a key factor for a healthy weight.
Stroke: The Reality Part 2: How can I reduce my risk for stroke?
PREVENTING STROKE: OTHER MEDICAL CONDITIONS
If you have heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes you can take steps to lower your risk for stroke.
- Talk to your primary care physician
- Take your medicine
- Control blood pressure
- Check cholesterol
- Manage heart disease
- Manage diabetes
For stroke survivors, caregivers, and families, join the American Heart Association’s online support network. Join the conversation today!
IMPROVING STROKE PREVENTION AND CARE IN GEORGIA
Through Georgia Coverdell Acute Stroke Registry, Georgia Department of Public Health works with multiple health systems, emergency medical systems (EMS), and organizations across the state to increase stroke awareness and enhance stroke care in Georgia. Funding for the Registry is made possible through the Paul Coverdell National Acute Stroke Prevention Program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For more information, go to the Georgia Coverdell Acute Stroke Registry page.