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Focus on Health:%A0Third leading cause of death

During this year’s observance of “World Stroke Day,” October 29, the American Heart Association and its division, the American Stroke Association, joined international organizations with a unified message about the global threat of stroke. This year’s theme is, “What Can I Do?”

“Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States, the second leading cause of death in the world and a leading cause of severe, long-term disability,” said Pierre Fayad, M.D, American Stroke Association spokesperson and chairman of the Department of Neurological Sciences at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. “The American Stroke Association is focused on reducing risk, disability and death from stroke through research, education, fund raising and advocacy. Everyone can take action against stroke.”

Stroke occurs when a vessel in or leading to the brain bursts or is blocked by a blood clot. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every 3 to 4 minutes.

With the theme of “What Can I Do?” World Stroke Day 2009 encourages people all over the world to take action against stroke. Some ideas include committing yourself to learn about stroke risks and warning signs or volunteering to help educate others about stroke. Also, individuals may advocate for laws in their states to improve stroke treatment and reduce disparities or donate to organizations that focus on stroke.

The World Stroke Organization (WSO) was created on October 29, 2006, at the Regional World Stroke Congress in Cape Town, South Africa, when the International Stroke Society and the World Stroke Federation merged to form one single organization. Since then, the annual World Stroke Day is held on the “birthday” of the WSO - October 29.

To learn more about stroke or what you can do to take a stand against stroke, visit www.strokeassociation.org.

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