COLUMBIA, Mo. — As part of Stroke Awareness Month in May, health care providers at University Hospital are offering screenings for those who may be at risk.
University Hospital staff members will offer free stroke-health screenings from noon to 4 p.m. Thursday, May 26, in the main lobby of University Hospital. Health care providers will check blood pressure and body mass index, screen for other risk factors and provide stroke education.
“Stroke prevention and awareness is important for everyone,” said Niranjan Singh, M.D., a neurologist and director of the Missouri Stroke Program at University Hospital. “It can occur at any time and any age, from prenatal to adulthood. But research shows that by recognizing risk factors and practicing proper lifestyle management, the instances of stroke in most cases can be reduced by 80 percent.”
According to the American Stroke Association, approximately 795,000 individuals in the United States suffer a stroke each year. This deadly condition accounts for one out of every 18 U.S. deaths.
“A stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery, or a break in a blood vessel causes an interruption of blood flow to the brain,” said Ashish Nanda, M.D., a neurointerventionalist and co-director of University Hospital’s Missouri Stroke Program. “This interruption cuts off the brain’s oxygen supply and destroys brain cells. If the stroke isn’t fatal, it can still affect memory, movement and speech.”
To treat stroke patients, University Hospital uses a multidisciplinary team from several different departments including neurology, neurosurgery, physical therapy, cardiology and emergency services.
“To identify, diagnose and treat the stroke patient quickly, members of our program work together as a cohesive team once the patient arrives at the hospital,” said Pradeep Sahota, M.D., chair of the Department of Neurology at University of Missouri Health Care. “Rapid evaluation and treatment can then make the difference, not only between life and death, but also in terms of quality of life.”
Although some strokes are not preventable, lifestyle changes can reduce the chances for someone considered at high risk for stroke. Risk factors that are manageable include:
• Atrial fibrillation issues such as heart palpitations, dizziness and fluttering or racing sensations in the chest
• High cholesterol
• Tobacco and excessive alcohol use
• Physical inactivity
• High blood pressure
• Obstructive sleep apnea
“Removing risk factors such as smoking and excessive alcohol use and leading a healthier, less sedentary lifestyle can make a big difference in reducing the chances of stroke,” said Jami Beezley, R.N., Missouri Stroke Program coordinator at University Hospital.
For more information on stroke prevention and awareness, call (573) 884-6019 or visit www.MUHealth.org/Stroke.
University Hospital has been named to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s 2011 Target: Stroke Honor Roll — one of only four hospitals in Missouri and one of only 74 in the nation to be named to the list. University Hospital has also been certified as an advanced primary stroke center by the Joint Commission and has received the Stroke Silver Plus Performance Achievement Award from Get With The Guidelines®, a hospital-based quality improvement program developed by the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association.