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Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention

Worksite Wellness Newsletter
May 2010

National Stroke Awareness Month

Around the nation, the month of May is celebrated as National Stroke Awareness Month. This event gives everyone an opportunity to learn more about stroke and the signs and symptoms of stroke.  In South Carolina, as well as nationally, stroke is the third leading cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability. However, research shows the public remains unaware of stroke's warning signs and the need to seek  immediate medical attention, even if the symptoms subside. Call 9-1-1! Remember time lost is brain lost, so learn the signs and symptoms of stroke and save a life!

What is a Stroke?
A stroke, sometimes called a brain attack, occurs when a clot blocks the blood supply to part of the brain or when a blood vessel in or around the brain bursts. In either case, parts of the brain become damaged or die.

What are the Signs & Symptoms of Stroke?
If you or someone with you has one or more of these signs, don't delay call 9-1-1 immediately!

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

The chance that you will survive and recover from a stroke is higher if you get emergency treatment right away

How can you reduce your risk of stroke?
You can help prevent stroke by making healthy choices and managing any medical conditions you might have:

  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Be physically active
  • Limit alcohol use
  • Do not smoke

If you have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease, there are steps you can take to lower your risk for stroke:

  • Have your cholesterol checked regularly
  • Monitor and control your blood pressure
  • Manage your diabetes
  • Take your medication
  • Talk with you physician if you have any concerns

Stroke Resources:


High Blood Pressure

Understanding Blood Pressure and High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against your blood vessels. High blood pressure (hypertension) means the heart is pumping harder to move blood through the body. The National Stroke Association (NSA) reports as many as 73 million Americans have high blood pressure. Of the one in four adults Americans with high blood pressure, 31.6 percent are not aware they have it.

Is High Blood Pressure Really a Big Deal?
YES!  When your blood pressure is high, your heart has to work harder than it should to pump blood to all parts of the body.  High blood pressure is called the “silent killer” because most people feel healthy and don’t even know that they have it.  This can weaken blood vessels and damage major organs, such as the brain. If left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to:

  • Heart attack
  • Kidney problems
  • Eye problems
  • Death

Know Your Numbers

  • Have your blood pressure checked.  It is easy, quick, and painless.
  • Your health care provider should check your blood pressure annually.
  • If you have high blood pressure, it should be checked more often.  You can have your blood pressure checked at your doctor’s office, your neighborhood clinic, health fairs at your church, your local fire department or emergency medical service (EMS), or shopping malls.

Check Below to See Where You Fit in

Blood pressure categories (adults age 18 and over)

Category Systolic (mm/Hg)                                  Diastolic (mm/Hg)
Normal Less than 120                    and                 Less than 80
Prehypertension 120-139                              or                        80-89
Hypertension 140 or higher                      or                       90 or higher

Strive for a blood pressure of 120/80 or less.
The Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection and Treatment of High Blood Pressure / NIH < NHL & BI / May 2003

Lower Your High Blood Pressure
If you have high blood pressure, you may be able to lower or keep your high blood pressure down.  Practice these steps:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Be more active every day
  • Eat fewer foods high in salt and sodium
  • Cut back or cut out alcoholic beverages, if you drink

Prevent High Blood Pressure
If your blood pressure is not high now, take steps to keep it healthy.  Here’s how:

  • Aim for a healthy weight
  • Eat less salt and sodium
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Be physically active every day
  • Don’t smoke

High Blood Pressure Resources:



  • American Stroke Month
    American Heart Association
    (800) 242-8721
  • Healthy Vision Month
    National Eye Institute
    National Institutes of Health
    (301) 496-5248
  • National Arthritis Awareness Month
    Arthritis Foundation
    (800) 283-7800 
  • National Physical Fitness and Sports Month
    President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports
    (202) 690-9000
  • Lupus Awareness Month
    Lupus Foundation of America, Inc.
    (888) 385-8787 
  • National High Blood Pressure Education Month
    National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Health Information Center
    (301) 592-8573
  • National Women’s Health Week-May 9th – 15th
    US DHHS - Office on Women's Health
    (800) 994-9662
  • National Employee Health and Fitness Day-May 9th
    National Association for Health and Fitness
    (716) 583-0521
    (716) 851-4052 

S.C. Healthy Worksite Initiatives
The goal of South Carolina’s Worksite Initiative is to reduce the burden of chronic diseases in workplaces by providing resources to initiate wellness programs, improve employee health promotion, and advocate for policies that support environmental and policy change in S.C. worksites. More information on this initiative and the S.C. DHEC Bureau of Community Health and Chronic Disease Prevention is available at:

Contact Information
Teresa M. Robinson, MBA
Worksite Coordinator
Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Division
(803) 545-4499

Worksite Wellness News
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