Vol. LIV No. 4
April 2019

May is Stroke Awareness Month

CONTRIBUTED BY Dallas Rudd, Media Relations.

May is American Stroke Awareness Month. This month provides a great opportunity for the Chickasaw Nation Department of Health to encourage citizens to be aware and conscious of their stroke risks.

According to the American Heart Association, stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability and the nation’s number five leading cause of death.

Eighty percent of strokes are preventable. Many risk factors can lead to a stroke including heart disease, high blood pressure, vascular conditions and diabetes. High blood pressure is one of the most controllable risk factors. A sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits can also increase risk.

Stroke is the sixth leading cause of death among the Indian population. The stroke death rate is 14 percent higher for Native Americans when compared to the entire American population.

Patients treated at the Chickasaw Nation Medical Center and satellite clinics can receive assistance and education for help with identifying signs of stroke.

As a part of American Stroke Awareness Month, the Chickasaw Nation Department of Health urges all citizens and patients to learn the signs of stroke. Use the acronym F.A.S.T. to detect a stroke.

F.A.S.T. stands for:

  • F - Face drooping: One side of the face will droop or go numb. Have the person in question try to smile.
  • A - Arm weakness: One or both arms could go weak. Have the person in question try to raise both of his or her arms. Watch for one or both arms to drift downward.
  • S - Speech difficulty.
  • T - Time to call 9-1-1: If the person in question shows any of the signs, call 9-1-1 and immediately rush the person to the hospital.

Smoking and any kind of tobacco use increases the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. All Chickasaw Nation health facilities are tobacco free in an effort to provide a healthy environment for patients, visitors and employees. By eliminating smoking areas, the Chickasaw Nation Department of Health hopes to remove triggers that make smoking cessation difficult.

Schedule an appointment with the Chickasaw Nation Department of Health cardiology or your primary care provider, to work to reduce your risk of stroke and maintain a healthy heart.