Campaign Against Stroke

By Byron E. Conner, M.D.

“But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteosuness arise with healing in his wings…”
– Malachi 4:2

The burden of suffering caused by stroke in the African American community is a reality that calls for urgent action. In America today, blacks have almost twice the risk of first-ever stroke compared with whites, and blacks age 35-54 have four times the relative risk of stroke. Related to this is the fact that African Americans have blood pressure prevalence that is the highest in the world. In addition we have more than our share of physical inactivity, obesity and diabetes. Stroke is a tragedy and a devastating condition that often produces permanent disability, if not death.

As part of a national campaign, Kaiser Permanente, the American Stroke Association and the Colorado Department of Public Health have joined forces to reduce death and disability by stroke in the African American community through a new program called the Power to End Stroke (PTES).

This campaign will involve a community based program of education and screenings to help lower the burden of suffering caused by stroke.

There will be a group of individuals known as “stroke ambassadors” who will contact churches and other community organizations to come and do programs to educate our citizens about stroke. You will thus be prepared if your are called!

The warning signs of stroke may include the following:

  1. Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg especially on one side of the body
  2. Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  3. Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  4. Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  5. Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Such symptoms as those above are an emergency and you should call 911 if you or anyone you are with has such symptoms.

What would be good is if we can prevent such symptoms and indeed prevent stroke. The stroke ambassadors will serve to teach people how to control the risk factors for stroke such as hypertension, diabetes, smoking, high cholesterol, physical inactivity, and obesity.

We will encourage people to sign a pledge card to help fight against stroke and receive some free information to assist in this.

May is Stroke Month. During that month, but also in coming months this year, you will hear about stroke and what we can do to stomp out stroke in our community. We hope you will want to be a part of this campaign!

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