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Centegra joins White Sox to strike out strokes

McHENRY – Centegra Health System joins the Midwest Stroke Action Alliance and Chicago White Sox for Strike Out Stroke, an afternoon of baseball and stroke awareness activities at U.S. Cellular Field. The game begins at 1:10 p.m. on Sept. 9. Purchase tickets at

Local stroke survivors of all ages will be honored. Fans will hear first-hand how each has been impacted by the third leading cause of death and why they choose to raise awareness through their personal experiences.

A stroke is a brain attack that occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery or a blood vessel breaks, interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain. It is also up to 80 percent preventable. The first step to prevention is identifying if you have any controllable and uncontrollable risk factors and begin to manage them. Stroke is an emergency. Treatment may be available if a person reaches the hospital in time.

Recognizing warning signs can be easy if you remember to think FAST:

F= Face. Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

A=Arms. Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S=Speech. Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Does the speech sound slurred or strange?

T=Time. If you observe any of these signs, then it’s time to call 9-1-1.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds. Every four minutes someone dies of stroke. In addition, stroke is a leading cause of serious long-term disability and a leading cause of death in the United States. People of all ages and backgrounds can have a stroke.

A stroke also is called a brain attack and occurs when a clot blocks the blood supply to the brain (ischemic) or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts (hemorrhagic), according to Sarah A. Vela, chest pain and stroke coordinator at Centegra Health System. When a stroke occurs, the blood supply to the brain is blocked or significantly decreased. The cells in the brain begin dying immediately.

Vela said signs and symptoms of a stroke include sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body-facial droop or uneven smile; sudden confusion, trouble speaking (slurred speech) or understanding; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination; sudden severe headache with no known cause.

Vela said it’s also important to make note of the time the symptoms began since treatment is time sensitive. Initial testing in a Centegra hospital emergency department will include an immediate CT scan of the brain, also known as a specialized x-ray of the brain; a neurological examination; intravenous access and blood tests.

Check the risk of stroke by getting a vascular screening for $129 on Centegra Wellness on the Move mobile health unit. Call 877-236-8347 for dates, locations and to register.

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