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Serious Medicine. Extraordinary Care.

The Nebraska Medical Center Takes Part In “World Stroke Day”

The Nebraska Medical Center is taking part in “World Stroke Day” – on Wednesday, Oct. 29 – by helping to educate Nebraskans and Iowans about silent stroke.

The theme for this year’s observance sponsored by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association is “little strokes=big trouble.”

Silent stroke is a brain injury likely caused by a blood clot interrupting blood flow in the brain. It is “silent” because it has no symptoms; however, doctors can detect brain damage with imaging tests.

The World Stroke Day 2008 proclamation says silent strokes occur five times as often as other strokes. Though silent stroke symptoms are not physically noticeable, potential side effects may affect the areas of thinking, mood/depression and personality.

“Although silent strokes may not produce the usual warning signs of stroke, they can lead to subtle changes in memory, thinking and other cognitive effects,” said Pierre Fayad, M.D., medical director of the stroke center at The Nebraska Medical Center and Reynolds Centennial Professor & Chairman of Neurological Sciences at UNMC. “People who can’t think as well, have memory loss, or fall often due to loss of balance should not dismiss as consequences of aging. They should bring these changes to their doctor’s attention.”

Dr. Fayad also reminds us of the risk factors that can lead to a stroke, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, elevated cholesterol, smoking and physical inactivity.

In the U.S., stroke is the third-leading cause of death — and is a leading cause of severe, long-term disability. 80% of strokes are preventable. Here are some simple guidelines to reduce your risk of stroke:

  1. Know your blood pressure. If it is elevated, work with your doctor to keep it under control. A normal blood pressure is considered less than 130/85.
  2. Find out if you have atrial fibrillation which is an irregular heartbeat rhythm. If you have AF, work with your doctor to manage it.
  3. If you smoke, stop.
  4. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.
  5. Know your cholesterol number. If it is high, work with your doctor to control it.
  6. If you are diabetic, follow your doctor’s recommendation carefully to control your diabetes.
  7. Include exercise in the activities you enjoy in your daily routine.
  8. Enjoy a lower sodium, lower fat diet.
  9. Ask your doctor if you have circulation problems which increase your risk for stroke. If so, work with your doctor to control them.
  10. If you have any stroke symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

The Nebraska Medical Center’s Stroke Center is Nationally Certified

The Nebraska Medical Center is home to Omaha’s only nationally certified stroke center dedicated to the prevention and management of stroke. The stroke center has received the “Gold Seal of Approval” from the Joint Commission and has been recognized by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Get With The GuidelinesSM (GWTG) program for following evidence-based guidelines for treating patients with stroke. The stroke team at The Nebraska Medical Center is poised to help patients seven days a week, 24 hours a day.