Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center
May is Stroke Awareness Month
As part of Stroke Awareness Month, the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center will host a Stroke Awareness Fair in the Main Auditorium on Thursday, May 4 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The fair will feature registered dietitians hosting a healthy cooking demonstration, blood pressure checks, and a Charleston Emergency Medical Service (EMS) team that will discuss their role as first responders for stroke victims. The Stroke Awareness Fair is free and is open to anyone who would like to attend.
Last year Charleston VAMC treated more than 150 stroke victims. Neurology, EMU, and Stroke Program Coordinator Elizabeth Aprile, RN, organizes stroke awareness events for Veterans and employees each year.
“Approximately 80 percent of strokes are preventable. The stroke fair is intended to educate people who may be higher risk so they can make lifestyle changes now before it is too late,” said Aprile.
Charleston VAMC is also holding a Strike Out Stroke event at the Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park on Saturday, May 6 starting at 5 p.m. when the Charleston RiverDogs host the Delmarva Shorebirds. Charleston EMS will also participate in the Strike Out Stroke event and have an ambulance on-site for visitors to explore before and during the game.
“These events give us an opportunity to share critical information about strokes and what demographics are affected more than others,” said Aprile. “For example, women are more likely to suffer from a stroke than men and strokes kill more women annually than breast cancer.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, a stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted or severely reduced, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and nutrients. Strokes are the number five cause of death nationally, claiming more than 130,000 lives annually—including the lives of 2,600 South Carolinians in 2016. Strokes are also the leading cause of preventable disabilities.