Louisville, Ky. (May 14, 2015)—Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and Kentucky is among the worst states for stroke mortality in the nation. As part of National Stroke Awareness Month, KentuckyOne Health is working to improve fast access to life-saving stroke care.
Stroke is also the leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States, and while most common in the older population, strokes can occur at any age. About 25 percent of strokes occur in people under the age of 65.
Women are at significantly higher risk for stroke than men. Roughly 55,000 more women than men are affected by stroke every year. And while it is more common, nearly 75 percent of women aren’t aware of many stroke symptoms. Stroke risks in women can be exacerbated by the use of birth control and other hormonal therapies, among other factors unique to women.
“Stroke is mostly preventable. You should know your stroke risk factors and aggressively treat them to prevent stroke," said Kerri Remmel, MD, PhD, Director, University of Louisville Hospital Comprehensive Stroke Center and Chair, University of Louisville Department of Neurology. “Life saving and brain saving treatments are available if a person gets to the hospital quickly after the onset of stroke.”
African American and Hispanic women are especially vulnerable to stroke. Stroke is the leading cause of death for women of Hispanic origin, and African American women are significantly more likely to have a stroke.
“While many are at risk for stroke, minorities face the highest risk, and therefore must be extra vigilant about controlling their risk factors, and identifying the signs and symptoms of stroke,” said Remmel. "Quick action is critical. Remember, with stroke, time saved is brain saved."
Common signs of stroke, like sudden numbness or weakness on one side of the face, arm and leg, confusion or trouble speaking or understanding, difficulty walking, sudden vision loss or a sudden intense headache can be stroke warning signs in both men and women. But like other conditions, like heart attack, symptoms in women can differ. Symptoms that are unique to women include the sudden onset of any of the following: face or limb pain, hiccups, nausea, general weakness, chest pain, shortness of breath and palpitations.
Pay attention to when stroke symptoms first surface. If administered within the first three hours of symptom onset, FDA approved clot buster drugs have shown to reduce long-term disability in many stroke patients.
Stroke can have long lasting effects, especially if not treated quickly. They can range from pain and fatigue to paralysis and seizures. It’s important to act “F.A.S.T.” when stroke signs are present:
F – Face Drooping
A – Arm Weakness
S – Slurred Speech
T – Time to call 9-1-1
Getting treatment quickly is the most important key to stroke survival, however, after a stroke, you are at a higher risk to have another stroke. To help mitigate this risk, it’s important to maintain proper nutrition and physical activity, as well as keeping close watch on conditions that can increase your risk, such as high blood pressure and atrial fibrillation.
About KentuckyOne Health
KentuckyOne Health was formed when two major Kentucky health care organizations came together in early 2012. KentuckyOne Health combines the Jewish and Catholic heritages of the two former systems – Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s HealthCare and Saint Joseph Health System. In late 2012, the organization formed a partnership with the University of Louisville Hospital | James Graham Brown Cancer Center. The nonprofit system is committed to improving the health of Kentuckians by integrating medical research, education, technology and health care services wherever patients receive care. KentuckyOne Health has more than 200 locations including hospitals, physician groups, clinics, primary care centers, specialty institutes and home health agencies across the state of Kentucky and southern Indiana. KentuckyOne Health is the largest health system in Kentucky.
Stroke Fact Sheet
Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. has a stroke every 40 seconds.
Kentucky is among the worst states for stroke mortality in the nation.
About 25 percent of strokes occur in people under the age of 65.
Family history, race and sex can increase risk for a stroke.
Women are at significantly higher risk for stroke than men. Stroke risk can be exacerbated by the use of birth control and other hormonal therapies, among other factors unique to women.
Stroke is the leading cause of death for women of African American and Hispanic origin.
Common signs of stroke include numbness or weakness in the face, confusion or trouble speaking or understanding, difficulty walking or an intense headache.
Symptoms that are unique to women include the sudden onset of any of the following:
- Face or limb pain
- General weakness
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
If administered within the first three hours of symptom onset, FDA approved clot buster drugs have shown to reduce long-term disability in many stroke patients.
Modifiable risk factors for stroke include:
- High blood pressure
- Cigarette smoking
- Heart disease
- Atrial fibrillation
- Poor diet
- Physical inactivity