Go Red for the Heart and Head

Laura Sauerbeck, RN, and Jason Mackey, MD. Photo by Cindy Starr/Mayfield Clinic

Members of the Cerebrovascular Disease and Stroke Center helped celebrate Go Red for Women at University Hospital last Friday by reminding visitors that stroke, like heart disease, is a primary source of death and disability in women. Like heart disease, the risks of a “brain attack” can be lessened through healthy living and awareness of its signs and symptoms. According to the National Stroke Association, 425,000 American women will suffer a stroke this year, and stroke will kill twice as many women as breast cancer.

Further, the Stroke Association reports, “80 percent of strokes are preventable.”

Stroke researcher Laura Sauerbeck, RN, and Neurology Fellow Jason Mackey, MD, members of the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Stroke Team, headed up the Cerebrovascular Center’s Go Red table, which offered a Stroke Risk Assessment tool to help individuals quantify their risk of stroke.

The Stroke Risk Assessment can be completed in a few minutes. It surveys an individual’s health in eight categories: blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, atrial fibrillation, weight, exercise and family history.

Those who take the risk assessment and do not know their blood pressure reading, cholesterol score or blood sugar level are urged to visit their doctor and have those readings determined. Those with moderate, elevated or high risk of stroke are urged to make it their mission to begin fighting their risk of stroke.

Should a stroke occur, time matters. Treatment should be sought immediately.

To remember the signs of stroke, think F-A-S-T.

F  — facial numbness or weakness, especially on one side.

A  — arm numbness or weakness, especially on one side.

S  — slurred speech or difficulty speaking.

T  — time to call 911.

Everyone is at risk of stroke, and not all strokes can be prevented. But knowing your risk is the first step of any action plan, and knowing the signs of stroke could help expedite treatment and thereby minimize damage. All women should Go Red, not only for their hearts, but also for their heads.

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