On October 29, 2014, for World Stroke Day, the World Stroke Organization will launch a new campaign around women and stroke. Every year 3.2 million women die of strokes globally, including more than 75,000 women in the United States, and thousands of other women are suffer long-term disabilities resulting from stroke. The “I Am Woman” campaign emphasizes that women are more at risk of having a stroke and, in many cases, are the primary caregiver to a family member who suffers a stroke. The global campaign raises awareness about the special challenges of stroke in women and how women can reduce their risk and protect their health.
Created in 2006, World Stroke Day promotes the stroke warning signs and the importance of taking immediate action if you think you or someone you know might be having a stroke. Every two seconds, someone in the world suffers a stroke, according to the World Health Organization. Of every 10 deaths from stroke, 6 occur in women, largely because the risk of stroke increases with age and women have longer life expectancy than men.
A stroke—sometimes called a brain attack—occurs when the blood supply to the brain is blocked or when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures, causing brain tissue to die. A stroke often starts as a sudden feeling of numbness or weakness on one side of the body. Other warning signs of stroke are
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or understanding.
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or loss of coordination.
Anyone can have a stroke at any age. You can’t control some stroke risk factors, like heredity, age, gender, and ethnicity. Some medical conditions—including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, overweight or obesity, and having had a previous stroke—can also raise your stroke risk.
CDC encourages everyone to know the signs and symptoms of stroke and to call 9-1-1 right away if they think they or someone else might be having a stroke. Getting fast treatment is important to prevent death and disability from stroke. People may be able to prevent stroke or reduce their risk through healthy lifestyle changes. In addition, medication can reduce stroke risk for some people.
Here are six steps anyone can take to reduce the risk and the danger of stroke:
1. Know your family history and personal risk factors, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, atrial fibrillation, and high blood cholesterol. Knowing one’s family history can help you start prevention early in life.
2. Be physically active and exercise regularly.
3. Maintain a healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables, and low in salt to stay healthy and keep blood pressure low.
4. Limit alcohol consumption.
5. Avoid cigarette smoke. If you smoke, seek help to stop now.
6. Learn to recognize the warning signs of a stroke.
CDC supports several public health efforts that address stroke, including the WISEWOMAN program, the Paul Coverdell National Acute Stroke Program (PCNASP), and the Million Hearts® initiative. WISEWOMAN also helps women with little or no health insurance reduce their risk for heart disease, stroke, and other chronic diseases. The PCNASP funds 11 states to improve the quality of care and transition of care from first contact with emergency medical services through in-hospital care and transition to next care provider. Million Hearts®, which is co-led by CDC and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, aims to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.
Learn more about World Stroke Day and the “I Am Woman” campaign. http://www.worldstrokecampaign.org/about-the-world-stroke-campaign.html
Learn more about how CDC addresses stroke prevention and care.
The mission of CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention is to provide public health leadership to improve cardiovascular health for all, reduce the burden, and eliminate disparities associated with heart disease and stroke.
The Paul Coverdell National Acute Stroke Registry Program is a cooperative agreement competitively awarded to 11 states to improve quality of care and transition of care from first contact with emergency medical services through in-hospital care and transition to next care provider.
Million Hearts® is a national initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. Million Hearts® brings together communities, health systems, nonprofit organizations, federal agencies, and private-sector partners from across the country to fight heart disease and stroke.
The Well-Integrated Screening and Evaluation for WOMen Across the Nation (WISEWOMAN) program focuses on reducing cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors among at-risk women. CVD, which includes heart disease and stroke, is the leading cause of death for women in the United States.
The Sodium Reduction in Communities Program (SRCP) works with communities to increase access to and availability of lower sodium foods.
The State Public Health Actions Program works to improve health for all Americans through coordinated chronic disease prevention programs. The program funds statewide initiatives to prevent, manage, and reduce the risk factors associated with chronic diseases—including childhood and adult obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.