Stroke -- the leading cause of disability in Illinois and the U.S.
Stroke Day, Oct. 29: Learn how to reduce your risk
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SPRINGFIELD -- Stroke is the
fourth-leading cause of death in Illinois and the leading cause of
disability. This year's theme for World Stroke Day, Oct. 29, is
"Because I Care," which emphasizes that stroke is preventable and
the benefits of prevention extend to all those who care.
"Although most people who have a stroke are older, anyone, including
children, can have a stroke," said Illinois Department of Public
Health Director LaMar Hasbrouck. "While we cannot control some risk
factors for preventing a stroke, like age, sex, ethnicity and family
history, we can make healthy changes that can help lower the risk.
Changes may include getting more exercise and eating a healthier
A stroke occurs when a clot blocks the blood supply to the brain
or a blood vessel bursts in the brain.
As the fourth-leading cause of death in Illinois, stroke is
responsible for 16 percent of all cardiovascular disease deaths in
the state. In 2009, there were slightly more than 5,000 deaths in
adults age 35 and older in Illinois due to stroke. More men die of
stroke than women, but more women have a stroke and more women
suffer from a disability after a stroke than men. Black
non-Hispanics have the highest stroke mortality rate, and stroke
occurs more in black and non-Hispanic races and ethnicities. The
overall prevalence of stroke in Illinois adults is 3.1 percent, or
slightly more than 300,000 adults.
The following actions can help reduce
the likelihood of having a stroke:
Know your personal
risk factors for stroke -- including high blood pressure,
diabetes, obesity, high blood cholesterol and having a previous
stroke -- and control or manage those conditions by working with
health care providers.
Engage in physical
Maintain a healthy
diet high in fruits and vegetables.
Avoid cigarette smoke. If you smoke,
seek help to stop now: 1-866 Quit Yes (1-866-784-8937).
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Know the signs and symptoms of a
stroke. Use the F.A.S.T. test to check for signs of stroke:
the person to smile. Does one side of their face droop?
Arms -- Ask
the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Speech -- Ask
the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or
Time -- If you notice any of these
signs, call 911.
Other symptoms to look for include sudden leg numbness or
weakness, sudden confusion or trouble understanding, sudden trouble
seeing in one or both eyes, sudden trouble walking or dizziness, and
sudden severe headache with no known cause. If you observe someone
with these symptoms, call 911 immediately.
For more information about stroke, visit
Illinois Department of Public
Health file received from the
Illinois Office of Communication and Information]