May, 2008; Brooklyn, NY) - In a press conference on Friday, May 23, 2008 at 1:30 PM, New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Richard F. Daines joined Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz and prominent stroke experts to discuss stroke awareness. The press conference took place in the newly-expanded Emergency Room at Maimonides Medical Center on Fort Hamilton Parkway between 48th & 49th Streets, Brooklyn, New York.
A stroke, more simply known as a “brain attack,” happens when there is an interruption in the blood flow to the brain. This serious condition is the third leading cause of death in the United States. A stroke occurs when there is an abrupt blockage in the blood leading to the brain or when there is bleeding in the brain tissue caused by a burst blood vessel. In each case, stroke is an emergency and every second counts. The victim should be taken to a place where they can receive immediate medical care.
Commissioner Daines and Assemblyman Cymbrowitz were welcomed by Maimonides Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer Mark McDougle and Maimonides Chair of Emergency Medicine Dr. Steven Davidson. On hand for the event were Maimonides Stroke Director Dr. Steven Rudolph and Director of Interventional Neuroradiology Dr. Jeffrey Farkas. Stroke Directors from other metropolitan area hospitals were invited to participate in this press event, meant to alert the public to stroke symptoms and risk factors.
The Health Commissioner urges the public to use the acronym “FAST”
when dealing with possible stroke symptoms. FAST stands for:
- Face - Is the person's smile symmetrical?
- Arms - Can both arms be raised evenly?
- Speech - Have the person repeat a simple sentence to see if speech is slurred.
- Time - Get the person emergency medical care as quickly as possible.
Assemblyman Cymbrowitz, himself a former stroke patient, attested to the vital importance of these guidelines. He then presented the Maimonides Stroke Team with a New York State Assembly Resolution declaring May to be Stroke Awareness Month.
The most common symptoms of stroke are: sudden weakness in the face, arm or leg - especially on one side of the body; sudden confusion, difficulty speaking or understanding; sudden dizziness, trouble walking, loss of balance or coordination; a sudden, severe headache with no apparent cause.
While some of the risk factors for stroke are hereditary, others are not. Everyone can reduce his or her vulnerability to stroke by being aware of risk factors, which include medical history and personal habits. Some factors can be reduced by living a healthy and active lifestyle. High blood pressure is among the most important risk factors for stroke, which is why it is imperative to have your blood pressure checked regularly and work with your physician to keep it at an acceptable level. Avoid excessive alcohol consumption to keep blood pressure down. Another key step is to stop smoking, a major and preventable risk factor for stroke. And perhaps most importantly, keeping your weight and blood cholesterol levels down through diet and exercise will improve your chances of avoiding stroke and a multitude of other health problems.
To View the Video Clip of the Press Conference CLICK HERE