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February 13, 2007 > Stroke: Devastating but Preventable

Stroke: Devastating but Preventable

Free Class Educates Those Who Have Suffered a Stroke and Those at Risk

If you think you or someone close to you is at risk for having a stroke - or has had a stroke in the past - come to Washington Hospital's free seminar about stroke to educate yourself about the third leading cause of death in the United States.
Not only is stroke a leading killer in the United States, according to Dr. Ash Jain, cardiologist and medical director of Washington Hospital's Critical Care Services and Stroke Program, its aftermath is devastating.
"Stroke is the worst of all the diseases in disabling a patient," he says. "Half of patients who have suffered a stroke would say it's worse than death. The quality of life is terrible after a stroke. You want to prevent the disease; if you have the disease you want to seek treatment immediately and then prevent it from happening again."
Stroke education means better prevention
On Tuesday, Feb. 20, Dr. Jain and Stroke Program Coordinator Doug Van Houten, R.N., present the first in a series of four seminars specifically targeted towards those at risk for a stroke, including those who have had one already.
The series will cover stroke prevention, management, resources, where to go for help, who to call and what to expect after a stroke.
A critical element of stroke education, according to Dr. Jain and Van Houten, is an emphasis on the time that elapses between a stroke's occurrence and when a patient seeks initial treatment.
"If patients make it to the hospital within the first three hours of a stroke, we can treat them aggressively," Dr. Jain says. "Within three to six hours, patients have a better chance."
Perhaps the most important piece of information to have about stroke, which occurs either when the blood supply to part of the brain is blocked or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, causing damage to a part of the brain, is that you can take steps to decrease your chances of suffering one. Several of the risk factors for stroke are things you can take charge of today.
Make changes today
"There are so many things you have control over," Van Houten says. "You can't change your sex, your age, or your genetics. But you can change things like blood pressure; weight; lifestyle - for instance, whether you smoke or not; taking medication to lower your cholesterol; improving diet and keeping your diabetes under control. There's a lot that everybody can do to keep themselves free of stroke."
Dr Jain will discuss some of the medical interventions used to re-establish blood flow to the brain by opening clogged arteries using balloons, stents and various medications.
A stent is a wire metal mesh tube used to prop open an artery during angioplasty, remaining in the artery and holding it open to improve blood flow to the heart muscle.
Seeing less of you in the hospital
Dr. Jain says an average of 500 patients a year are treated for stroke in Washington Hospital's emergency room. He wants to see more people learning about how to decrease their chances of suffering a stroke and fewer people in the hospital after having suffered one.
Van Houten, a critical care nurse for 25 years, 16 of which he has worked at Washington Hospital, had his own reason for becoming involved in Washington Hospital's Stroke Program.
"I think stroke is one of the most under-recognized but most devastating conditions that are out there," he says. "Even a disease like AIDS - you hear a lot about it but it doesn't kill nearly as many as the flu each year. But you don't hear much about stroke prevention and stroke is a leading killer. There's a lot for people to learn when it comes to stroke."
Learn more
Washington Hospital's Stroke Education Series begins with "Do You Know the Signs of Stroke?" on Feb. 20 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the conference center adjacent to Nakamura Clinic, Union City located at 33077 Alvarado Niles Road.
Seating is limited. To register for this free seminar, call Washington Hospital's Health Connection line toll-free at (800) 963-7070.
To find out about other free Health & Wellness classes and seminars, visit Washington Hospital's Web site at, click on "For Our Community," and select "Health Classes & Support Groups."
If you missed a class, make sure to catch a viewing on Comcast Channel 78 - InHealth, A Washington Hospital Channel. See the programming schedule in this section for times.

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Community Stroke Education Series

There is a lot you can do to decrease your risk of suffering a stroke. The goal of the Community Stroke Education Series is to educate community members about stroke prevention, symptoms and what to do if you are experiencing signs of stroke. Open to everyone. No registration required. Presentations are conducted by Washington Hospital medical personnel specializing in stroke intervention.

Upcoming presentations:
Tuesday, February 20
6 to 8 p.m.
Introduction to Stroke and Risk Factors for Stroke

Tuesday, March 6
6 to 8 p.m.
Acute Management of Stroke, Chronic Care and Stroke Rehabilitation

Stroke Education Presenters:
Stroke Program Medical Director Ash Jain, M.D., Cardiologist
Stroke Program Coordinator Douglas Van Houten, R.N.

Where: Washington West, 2500 Mowry Avenue, Fremont
Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditorium, Rooms A and B.
For more details about these presentations, call (510) 745-6525.

*Stroke Awareness Day Coming In March
On Saturday, March 31, a free carotid artery ultrasound screening will be conducted from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 2500 Mowry Ave.,Washington West. *You must pre-register for this screening - Call (800) 963-7070 to register.

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