Officials say stroke is the third leading cause of death locally.
Frederick, Md (KM) “Stroke Smart Frederick” has been launched in Frederick County. During her public information briefing on Tuesday, County Executive Jessica Fitzwater said the purpose is to make more people aware of the signs of stroke, and to take action if they notice it in someone else. That means calling 911.
“Stroke is the leading cause of permanent disability in Frederick County, the third leading cause of death,” Fitzwater said. “If a person receives medical care for a stroke in the first few hours, their chances of recovery are substantially higher.”
Dr. Barbara Brookmyer, Frederick County’s Health Officer, says not everyone who suffers a stroke is elderly. “Contrary to what people think is that strokes are not just limited to persons who people think are old,”; she says. “That one in five strokes are occurring in persons who are 55 or younger, one in five!”
As part of “Stroke Smart Frederick,” information about strokes can be found on the Frederick County Government website at FrederickCountyMD.gov/Stroke. There is a short video for people to watch, and a quiz to make sure that visitors to the site have learned the key points. It also reminds residents about the signs of stroke, and to call 911.
“Someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds,”; says Kathy Schey, the Director of the Frederick County Division of Aging and Independence. “Every four minutes, someone dies from a stroke. Stroke is the number-one cause of long term disability; the fifth leading cause of death in the United States; and the third leading cause of death in Frederick County.
She says knowing the signs of stroke can help save lives. “If Frederick County’s population is educated by stroke signs, yes, and able to call 911 upon onset of symptoms, then more Frederick County residents will arrive at Frederick Health Hospital within that treatment window,” Schey says. “That is our hope and our goal to do that. And we need all of Frederick County to say yes, yes. We’re excited about that.”
The signs of stroke are loss of balance, changes in vision, facial drooping, severe headaches, weakness or numbness in the arms, and difficulty speaking or confusion. If these symptoms appear, organizers of “Stroke Smart Frederick” say “be fast” and call 911.
By Kevin McManus