Hospital Steps Up Efforts to Educate Community on Stroke Risks

(Ventura, California) — Community Memorial Hospital announced the launch of StrokeAware, an online risk assessment to help individuals determine if they have or are at risk for stroke.

The free screenings take place Fridays, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the StrokeAware office across the street from the hospital at 168 N. Brent St. on the third floor. No appointment is necessary; walk-ins are welcomed.

A stroke or "brain attack" occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery (a blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the body) or a blood vessel (a tube through which the blood moves through the body) breaks, interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain. When either of these things happens, brain cells begin to die and brain damage occurs.

When brain cells die during a stroke, abilities controlled by that area of the brain are lost. These abilities include speech, movement and memory. How a stroke patient is affected depends on where the stroke occurs in the brain and how much the brain is damaged.

“StrokeAware can help us effectively identify people with risk symptoms for stroke,” said Adam Thunell, CMHS’s chief operating officer. “We have a responsibility to not only care for our community but to raise awareness of health risks through education and prevention. We feel StrokeAware can do just that.”

When patients take the StrokeAware risk assessment, the program considers the following risk factors:

High blood pressure Smoking Diabetes
High cholesterol Family history of CV disease Over weight
Over age 50 Inactivity/sedentary lifestyle Leg pain
TIA (mini-stroke) symptoms

Weekly, Community Memorial Hospital offers free mini-stroke screenings. Stroke is the No. 3 cause of death from men and women, and the screenings are offered as a prevention strategy to identify and educate those who are at risk. Participants have their blood pressure taken in both arms and are given EKG rhythm strip and carotid auscultation tests. They also are educated on the signs and symptoms of a stroke and the importance of arriving at the hospital within 3 hours of the onset of symptoms.

For more information on StrokeAware, call 667-2818.

Community Memorial Hospital is a member of Community Memorial Health System, a not-for-profit health system, which is comprised of Community Memorial Hospital, Ojai Valley Community Hospital, and nine family-practice health centers entitled Centers for Family Health. The health system is located in Ventura County, California.