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Monday, May 2, 2011

Stroke continues to be a leading cause of death in Minnesota

May 2, 2011

Stroke continues to be a leading cause of death in Minnesota

Health officials urge Minnesotans to learn the signs and symptoms of stroke during National Stroke Awareness Month in May

Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in Minnesota, with 2,023 deaths in 2009, according to new data from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). The data from 2009 also show that:

* More than 90,000 Minnesotans, or 2.3 percent of adults, reported having had a stroke.
* Minnesotans were hospitalized more than 11,000 times for stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA).
* The total inpatient charges for stroke-related hospitalizations were over $367 million, or more than $31,000 per hospitalization.
* Only 55 percent of Minnesota adults could correctly identify all five major signs and symptoms of stroke.

A stroke is a "brain attack" that occurs when blood flow to tissues in the brain is interrupted. Strokes can lead to permanent disability and death. To help raise awareness about stroke in Minnesota, Gov. Mark Dayton has proclaimed May as Stroke Awareness Month in Minnesota.

Dr. Ed Ehlinger, Minnesota Commissioner of Health, urged Minnesotans to learn the warning signs and symptoms of stroke.

"When it comes to strokes, we say that time lost is brain lost," Ehlinger said. "That's why it is so important for Minnesotans to know the signs and symptoms of stroke and to call 9-1-1 at the first sign of symptoms."

The signs and symptoms of stroke are:

* sudden confusion or trouble speaking.
* sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side.
* sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
* sudden trouble walking, dizziness or loss of balance.
* sudden severe headache with no known cause.

If you think that you or someone else is having a stroke, call 9-1-1 immediately.

More information about stroke and its risk factors is available from MDH's Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention Unit at

For more information on the signs and symptoms of stroke and access to resources for stroke survivors, please visit the Minnesota Stroke Association's website at

For more information about cardiovascular diseases and stroke, visit the Minnesota Affiliate of the American Heart Association's website at Health professionals looking for more information on how to conduct stroke community education events can find resources at the Minnesota Stroke Partnership's website at


For more information, contact:

John Stieger, MDH Communications 651-201-4993
Stan Shanedling, Heart Disease/Stroke Prevention 651-201-5408

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