Learn how you can prevent a stroke

Dear Editor:

I’m a New Jersey resident, a volunteer with the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association, and I’m one of the more than 4.5 million stroke survivors alive today in this country.

May is Stroke Awareness Month. Do you know that stroke can strike anyone at any age? In March of 1997, in a public place, with no family history and no advance warning, I experienced a massive stroke. I was 51 years old at the time. There was no pain. I slumped to the floor, helpless and paralyzed on the left side from head to toe.

Stroke is New Jersey’s number three cause of death and the leading cause of serious adult disability, but there is hope and there is life after stroke. I had to relearn basic things like eating, bathing, speaking and walking. It took me a year before I could walk on my own, but I can walk with the assistance of a cane, I drive a car, hit golf balls and I’ve traveled to Africa and other places since my stroke. There is life after stroke.

Are you at risk for stroke? You can learn your risk for stroke during May absolutely free at the American Stroke Association’s StrokeAlert! community stroke risk assessment and screening program. American Stroke Association StrokeAlert! is taking place at nearly 100 locations around New Jersey and most screenings will be from May 17 to May 24. Call toll-free today at 1-888-4stroke (1-888-478-7653) for a risk assessment location near you.

As an American Stroke Association volunteer, I urge people throughout New Jersey to know: Stroke is an urgent medical emergency. Know the warning signs and don’t delay. Call 9-1-1 immediately if one or more warning signs occur. Learn your personal risk for stroke. Prevention begins now-before there’s a problem. Call the American Stroke Association at 1-888-4stroke for a New Jersey StrokeAlert! screening location near you.

Dr. Richard Zaback
Volunteer, American Stroke Association
Division of the American Heart Association


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