Providence Experts Offer Tips for Stroke Awareness Month

April 22, 2011
While Providence expands its Telestroke Network to treat stroke patients quickly, prevention still is the best medicine. Saying no to soda and yes to coffee could help reduce your risk of having a stroke.            

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in America. It strikes nearly 750,000 Americans each year, killing an estimated 170,000 people. But 80 percent of strokes are preventable. Below you will find stories for May, National Stroke Awareness Month.

CUT THE DIET SODA; ADD A CUP OF COFFEE
Diet soda drinkers may think their low-calorie choice is healthier, but a new study suggests diet drinks might increase a person’s risk of stroke. The study found a 61 percent higher stroke risk among diet soda drinkers compared to those who drank regular soda. Coffee, on the other hand, appears to lower one’s risk of having a stroke. In a separate study, women who had one to five cups of coffee a day reduced their stroke risk by as much as 25 percent. Providence has stroke experts who can talk about these studies as well as more on the connection between diet and stroke risk.  

POST-STROKE REHAB IMPROVES WITH FAMILY INVOLVEMENT
Stroke survivors recover more quickly if family members are involved in the rehabilitation process, suggests a new study out of Europe. The study found family-assisted exercise therapy added to regular post-stroke physical therapy greatly improved patients’ balance, motor function skills and other physical abilities. Providence Portland Medical Center encourages the same family involvement in the Providence Acute Rehabilitation Center (PARC), an inpatient rehabilitation unit. Interviews and tours of PARC can be scheduled. For more information, please visit: Providence Acute Rehab Center

OREGON’S FIRST TELESTROKE NETWORK EXPANDS INTO WASHINGTON STATE
Twelve hospitals are now part of Providence Telestroke Network,  including the first link to Washington state- Ocean Beach Hospital in Ilwaco, Wash. Providence Telestroke Network, launched one year ago, helps deliver immediate stroke care to the Northwest’s rural communities. Robots with two-way video cameras connected to the Internet help Portland-based stroke neurologists diagnose and treat stroke patients as soon as they arrive at outlying hospitals. Providence stroke neurologists are available to talk about how quickly they can treat patients using the Telestroke Network.  

STROKES ON THE RISE AMONG YOUNG
A recent study found a sharp increase in ischemic stroke hospitalizations among younger people. Ischemic strokes are the type caused by a clot that obstructs the flow of blood to the brain. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), found a 51 percent increase in ischemic stroke hospitalizations in males between the ages of 15 and 34. For women in the same age range the rate increased by 17 percent. The rate among children and teens also saw significant increases in occurrence. Causes for the increase have not been determined, but some doctors believe higher rates of obesity and hypertension among younger people may be factors.