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'The Business of Health Care Report'

American Stroke and High Blood Pressure Month

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I’m Doug Hawthorne, CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.”

May is American Stroke and High Blood Pressure Month. Now is a good time for employers to help educate their employees about risk factors and how to recognize stroke.

Stroke is the No. 3 killer in the United States and a leading cause of long-term disability. According to the American Stroke Association, the disease will cost our nation an estimated $69 billion this year in lost productivity and medical costs.

People with high blood pressure have about twice the risk of stroke as those with normal blood pressure. Other risk factors include family history, high cholesterol, obesity, physical inactivity and diabetes. Men over 45 and women over 55 are at higher risk, but stroke can affect people of any age.

Despite the prevalence of stroke, many people still do not know what symptoms to look for. Warning signs include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg;
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding;
  • Sudden vision problems, dizziness or trouble walking, and
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

Employers wishing to educate their workers about stroke can download a free 2009 Stroke Community Awareness Kit, available at

For our faith-based hospitals — Texas Health Presbyterian, Texas Health Harris Methodist and Texas Health Arlington Memorial — I’m Doug Hawthorne.

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