Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Florida News

Strokes Expected to Increase Among FL Baby Boomers 

JACKSONVILLE, FL - Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in Florida, according to the American Heart Association. May is Stroke Awareness Month, and health advocates are reminding Floridians about the risks and warning signs of the potentially deadly condition.

Links of interest:
Florida Charts
Stroke awareness
Nat. Stroke Association

In Florida, the number of stroke-related deaths is on the decrease, standing at 28 percent of stroke victims. Ten years ago, that number was 47 percent, according to the CDC. But vigilance is still important, says Lesia Mooney, the stroke coordinator at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. She expects the number of strokes to increase because of the large number of aging baby boomers.

"The mindset wasn't necessarily always on preventative care. As the baby boomers age, there's a greater potential for stroke there."

Strokes happen to people at all levels of health and ages. Kyle Sheeler was a healthy and athletic 18-year-old when he suffered a stroke. The time factor is key, says Sheeler, because if you get clot-busting medication soon enough, the debilitating side effects of stroke can be significantly reduced.

"The longer you wait, the more brain that's damaged. And don't hesitate to call 911, because with the more time that passes, you could have more cognitive difficulties, you could have more physical difficulties."

Sheeler says there are many ways to reduce your risk of stroke, from quitting smoking, to losing weight to being physically active.

"You don't have to go crazy exercising or anything like that, but just find something that you like to do that's active, and that can really prevent it. Just live a healthy lifestyle."

Nationwide, someone suffers a stroke every 45 seconds. Warning signs for a stroke include a drooping face, numb arm and impaired speech. 

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