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Learn About Your Stroke Risk At Washington Hospital Screening Day

If you are concerned that you or someone you care about may be at risk for a stroke, Saturday, March 19, Washington Hospital’s Stroke Awareness and Screening Day, is a date you should mark on your calendar.

Stroke Awareness Day participants will be screened by Washington Hospital staff for the eight major risk factors for stroke. The free program, open to the public, will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditorium, Washington West, 2500 Mowry Avenue, Fremont.

Prior registration is essential for all who wish to participate. You may register by calling 800-963-7070.

“It always is best to learn about a stroke before it happens,” says Dr. Ash Jain, cardiologist and medical director of Washington Hospital’s Stroke Program. “The good news is that stroke can be prevented in about 80 percent of the cases with modification of lifestyle risk factors.”

Stroke is brain damage that occurs when the circulation to the brain is impaired, usually from a blood clot or ruptured blood vessel, Dr. Jain explains. “The degree of disability is determined by how big the stroke is and what part of the brain is affected.”

Most risk factors for stroke — such as high blood pressure — build up over time with no outward symptoms. Then a stroke occurs, which leaves you at risk for permanent disability.

Stroke risk factors are:

  • High blood pressure. This number one risk factor is usually treated with medications, but there are many ways to bring blood pressure down without pills. (Reduce weight to normal; get daily exercise; reduce the sodium in your diet; etc.)
  • Smoking. This is a habit that must be stopped. Tobacco has a very negative effect on one’s blood vessels.
  • Cholesterol. Statin medications, aerobic exercise and a low fat diet can help.
  • Uncontrolled diabetes. The key to diabetes is frequent monitoring, eating right, getting exercise, and knowing how to take the medications for the condition.
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol. A little alcohol may help reduce the risk of stroke, but excessive use is a big risk factor.
  • Being overweight. How do you know if you are overweight or not? The BMI chart helps one understand where they need to be.
  • Carotid artery disease. Blockages in the neck arteries can stop the flow of blood to the brain leading to a stroke.
  • Atrial Fibrillation.

This is a serious heart arrhythmia that is very common and often not detected in those with it. Unfortunately, atrial fibrillation leads to about 30 percent of strokes. The screening program includes a simple finger-stick blood test for cholesterol and glucose (for diabetes), a blood pressure reading, an ultra-sound reading of the carotid arteries that run up on both sides of one’s neck, and a simple EKG test for atrial fibrillation. Each participant will then meet with a hospital staff member and then with Dr. Jain to discuss the testing and steps recommended to modify the risk factors noted for that person.

For additional information, please call 800.963.7070, and to learn more about strokes, visit