NH DHHS - Recognizes Stroke Prevention and High Blood Pressure Awareness Month

Concord, NH - The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

(DHHS), Division of Public Health Services (DPHS), Heart Disease and Stroke

Prevention Program is recognizing May as Stroke Prevention Month and High

Blood Pressure Awareness Month to raise awareness about these common and

dangerous conditions. Since 1989 this day has been used to try to encourage

people to learn their risks about stroke, which is the 5th leading cause of

death in New Hampshire.

Somewhere in the U.S. someone has a stroke every 40 seconds. Stroke is

responsible for 133,000 deaths in the United States each year, or one in

every 18. A stroke is when a blockage causes blood flow to the brain to

stop or when a blood vessel in or around the brain bursts. This can cause

life-changing complications such as paralysis, loss of mental ability,

language difficulty, depression, and of course death. Strokes can happen to

people of any age, not just seniors.

“Many people probably don’t think that they would ever have a stroke,” said

Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. “But anyone can be at

risk and many people don’t even realize they have risk factors, one of the

most important being uncontrolled high blood pressure. There are things we

can all do to live healthier lives and reduce our chances of stroke and

other related health problems. Everyone should also be aware of the signs

of a stroke whether to help themselves or someone else who may be having


In New Hampshire, according to the 2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance

Survey (BRFSS), 28.6% of adults reported that they have high blood

pressure, 58.3% of people 65 years of age or older have high blood

pressure, and 25% of people who have high blood pressure do not take

medication for their condition.

In 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services launched the Million

Hearts™ initiative to prevent a million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.

A primary focus is on the ABCS to prevent cardiovascular disease, including

stroke, and contribute to overall health:

Know your ABCS of health:

Appropriate Aspirin therapy: Ask your doctor if taking aspirin is

right for you.

Blood pressure control: Keeping your blood pressure under control

reduces your risk of heart attack and stroke. More than half of

the world’s stroke deaths are caused by elevated blood pressure


Cholesterol management: Get your cholesterol checked regularly and

manage it with diet and physical activity or with medication, if


Smoking cessation: Get help at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

Exercise regularly

Eat a healthy diet that’s low in sodium

Maintain a healthy weight

Prevent or control diabetes

Limit your alcohol intake (fewer than two drinks per day for men, or

one drink per day for women)

When responding to a stroke, every minute counts. The sooner a patient

receives medical treatment, the lower the risk for death or disability. If

you or someone you know exhibits the following signs or symptoms, call

9-1-1 immediately for medical attention.

Numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side

of the body

Confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding

Trouble seeing in one or both eyes

Trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance and coordination

Severe headache with no known cause

Remember, getting immediate medical attention for stroke is crucial to

preventing disability and death, so don’t delay—dial 9-1-1.

The NH Stroke Steering Committee, which is made up of state and community

partners, is working on strengthening stroke systems of care through

bringing partners together to implement heart and stroke activities

relating to the Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program objectives of

reducing the prevalence of stroke and stroke deaths.

For more information about National Stroke Prevention Month, visit

www.stroke.org . To learn more about stroke, visit the Centers for Disease

Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/stroke  To learn more about

the Million Hearts™ initiative, visit