Publisher’s Note: Don’t let yourself or someone you know become a stroke victim

MAY IS NOT ONLY a time we honor our nurses, it’s also National Stroke Awareness Month. Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke. That means in the time it takes you to read this column, at least two people will suffer from this life-threatening “brain attack.”

Nelson_CFDr2In Polk County, 4.5 percent of medicare beneficiaries have been treated for a stroke, according to Healthy Tampa Bay and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. In our region the age-adjusted death rate due to stroke is 34.2 per 100,000 population. To help give a little perspective, the Healthy People 2020 national health target is to reduce the stroke death rate to 34.8 deaths per 100,000 population. In other words, although it’s right below the national target, it should be much lower.

And, the only way to reduce your risk for stroke, or help save the life of someone who might fall victim to one, is to know the symptoms and know how to act quickly. Here are the recommendations from the CDC for recognizing the signs of stroke:

When responding to a stroke, every minute counts. The sooner a patient receives medical treatment, the lower the risk for death or disability.

If you or someone you know exhibits the following signs or symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately.

• Numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
• Confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding.
• Trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
• Trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance and coordination.
• Severe headache with no known cause.

To learn more about reducing your risk for stroke, visit Million Hearts, a national initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes over five years.



Nelson Kirkland is publisher of Central Florida Health News. He may be reached by e-mail at

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