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May Is Stroke Awareness and Prevention Month

BJC employees who pledge to learn more about Stroke Awareness and Prevention Month during May can enter a drawing for exercise equipment valued at $1,000.

In recognition of May as National Stroke Awareness and Prevention Month by the American Stroke Association, BJC Help for Your Health sponsored the second annual employee awareness initiative to educate, inform and engage employees about stroke risk factors and prevention measures that can benefit them and their families.

A stroke can be considered a “brain attack,” in which vital blood flow and oxygen are blocked from reaching the brain, resulting in the death of brain cells. An ischemic stroke occurs when an artery is blocked by a blood clot or a gradual build-up of fatty deposits in blood vessels. A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain breaks and leaks blood into the brain. Time is critical in recognizing and starting immediate treatment of a stroke.

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Risk factors include age, personal and family history of stroke, high blood pressure, tobacco use, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart vessel disease and other medical conditions.

Stroke Risk Factors -- Controllable Risks
• High blood pressure
• Atrial fibrillation (abnormal heartbeat)
• Diabetes
• High cholesterol
• Atherosclerosis (plaque build-up in the arteries)
• Tobacco use
• Alcohol use
• Physical inactivity
• Obesity

Stroke Risk Factors -- Uncontrollable Risks
• Age
• Gender
• Race
• Family history
• Previous stroke or mini-stroke
• Hole between heart chambers (patent foramen ovale or PFO)
• Poorly formed arteries
• Sickle cell disease

Reducing Your Risk of Stroke
• Know and manage your blood pressure
• Identify and control irregular heartbeat
• Stop smoking
• Restricting alcohol use to no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women
• Know and manage your cholesterol
• Identify and manage diabetes
• Exercise five times a week
• Maintain a diet low in calories, salt, fats and cholesterol
• Treat circulation problems

Check your personal risk with the National Stroke Association’s Stroke Risk Scorecard. Discuss your stroke risk with your doctor.

American Stroke Association Guidelines -- FAST
Face -- Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
Arm -- Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Speech -- Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred?
Time -- If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1

Our Winners

The 2013 winner is Chrissy Tucker, staff member in Food & Nutrition, Missouri Baptist Medical Center. She was chosen from over 980 entries.

The 2012 winner was Annie Hutchcraft, RN, Missouri Baptist Sullivan Hospital. She was chosen from more than 1,400 entries.

The 2011 winner was Conradene "Connie" Turnbough, St. Louis Children's Hospital. She was chosen from more than 700 entries.

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