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December 26, 2006 > Community Education Aims to Prevent Strokes

Community Education Aims to Prevent Strokes

by Washington Hospital

As the incidence of stroke in the United States increases, there is a growing need to educate the community about stroke prevention. A significant goal of the Stroke Program at Washington Hospital is to radically reduce the number of strokes in the Tri-City community by educating the public about the causes, symptoms and treatment of stroke, as well as stroke prevention.

Beginning in January 2007, Washington Hospital will launch a quarterly community education series about strokes. The series will meet on the first Tuesday of every month from 6 to 8 p.m., starting January 2 in the Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditorium, Rooms A and B, Washington West, 2500 Mowry Avenue, Fremont.


Stroke Program Medical Director Ash Jain, M.D., Cardiologist and Stroke Program Coordinator Douglas Van Houten, R.N., will conduct presentations on stroke prevention and symptoms and what to do if you are experiencing signs of stroke. Topic presentations will include:

January 2, 2007
“Introduction—Stroke”           
“Risk Factors for Stroke”          

February 6, 2007
“Acute Management of Stroke”      
“Chronic Care and Stroke Rehab”    

March 6, 2007
“Stroke Prevention”           
“Life After Stroke”           

April 3, 2007
“Stroke & Other Disease Processes” 
“Future in Diagnosis & Management”

The series cycle starts over again on Tuesday, May 1.

Dr. Jain says that the community education series will inform the public about what options they have for treatment if they do have a stroke. The key to a better recovery is to familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms of stroke, and get to the hospital as fast as possible if you suspect a stroke. There are treatments doctors can do for a stroke that can greatly increase your chances for a high quality of life after the stroke. If you do not seek fast help after exhibiting stroke symptoms, the results could “leave you so devastated, you would rather not live,” Dr. Jain says. “Stroke is the worst thing that can happen. If you survive, you live with the effects for years.”

“Most strokes are preventable,” says Van Houten, emphasizing the importance of stroke education to prevent a stroke from happening in the first place. Factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, alcoholism, being overweight and being sedentary, and having diabetes put you at risk for a stroke. “If we could control these issues in America, we would see much fewer strokes,” Van Houten says.

Van Houten explains that stroke is a vascular disease just like heart disease. People at risk for heart disease are also at risk for stroke, although anyone at any age could have a stroke.

There are two types of stroke. One type of stroke occurs if you have an artery that is blocked, preventing blood circulation to the brain and resulting in the death of brain tissue. The other type of stroke occurs when there is bleeding inside the head.

The warning signs of a stroke include:

Facial droop
Sudden numbness or weakness
Sudden confusion
Trouble speaking
Trouble understanding
Trouble with vision
Trouble walking
Dizziness or lack of coordination
Sudden and severe headache

Part of the Stroke Program at Washington Hospital includes secondary prevention of additional strokes once you have already had one stroke. Dr. Jain says the education series is going to give “a whole spectrum of management to prevent another stroke from happening.”

Van Houten says that he has seen people simply ignore symptoms of stroke, such as a facial droop or numbness, believing the problem will just go away on its own. With the upcoming education series, he hopes people feel as motivated to see a doctor because of a facial droop as they would if they felt the sudden pain of a heart attack.

“We want to get the community thinking about stroke all the time and dealing with it as a 911 emergency,” Van Houten says.

The Community Education Series on Stroke runs in a four-month cycle from January to April 2007, and then begins again May to August and September to December. The series meets the first Tuesday of every month from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditorium, Rooms A and B, Washington West, 2500 Mowry Avenue, Fremont. Call (800) 963-7070 for information or to register.

You can learn about stroke response on an upcoming television program on InHealth, a Washington Hospital Channel on Comcast 78. “Inside Washington Hospital: Stroke Response Team” emphasizes that the sooner a stroke patient comes to the hospital, the better chance of saving brain tissue and preserving the patient’s quality of life.

For more information about Washington Hospital and the InHealth Channel, visit www.whhs.com, click on “For Our Community” and select “InHealth Channel” from the drop-down menu or call (800) 963-7070.

The InHealth program schedule is published weekly in the Tri-City Voice and posted on Washington Hospital’s website at www.whhs.com. InHealth Channel 78 is available to Comcast subscribers in Newark, Union City and Fremont.

 
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