S.M.A.R.T.® Program Firing Up Again – To Begin A Wave Of Stroke Ed Across Socal Tomorrow

S.M.A.R.T.® (Students learning about stroke, Making healthy lifestyle choices, Aware of Risk factors, Teaching others stroke is 80% preventable), a K-12 primary stroke education program of the RTH Stroke Foundation is set to begin its fall teaching rounds across Orange and Los Angeles Counties tomorrow. S.M.A.R.T.® will be venturing into Laguna Hills High School, Anaheim High School, Downey High School, and Long Beach High School from October to December in an effort to deliver lifesaving information about stroke to scores of students and their parents. Already at over 700 students in two different high schools educated this year, S.M.A.R.T.® is set to double down this fall by exceeding that number, potentially offsetting a multitude of strokes from occurring through education and promoting of healthy lifestyles.  For more information on S.M.A.R.T.®, visit its page in the education tab of our website.

Holidays See An Increase In Stroke & Heart Attack

The holidays are a time of enjoyment and celebration for many, but there are some underlying dangers associated with the period from Thanksgiving to New Years in regards to heart-related illness. A 5% spike in strokes and heart attacks around the holidays has been reported by a 2004 study in the journal Circulation. The source of the spike was found to be attributed to overindulgence on food and alcohol as well as the added stress that some can experience during the holidays.

Overindulgence on holiday foods can flood the vascular system with loads of sodium, sugars, and fats that lead to an increase in emergency room visits around the holidays. Coupled with this, is the condition known as “Holiday Heart” which develops from excessive drinking and can cause the heart to fibrillate unnaturally for a brief period thus leading to an increase in heart attacks and ischemic, clot strokes.

Tips to avoid being apart of the 5% spike in stroke and heart attacks experienced around this time of year can be found in portioning your foods, limiting yourself to 1 alcoholic beverage for women and 2 for men at holiday events, and reducing stress by exercising and getting enough sleep.

We here at the Foundation wish everyone a great holiday season and ask our visitors to remain aware of the basic signs and symptoms of stroke since there is an increase this time of year:

  • Sudden weakness or numbness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden, severe headaches with no known cause (for hemorrhagic stroke)

And when a stroke happens get BUSY.

  • B = Body: Ask the person to raise their arms. Does one drift down? Is one arm weak or numb?
  • U = Uneven: Check to see if the person’s face is uneven and slanted on one side.
  • S = Speech: Check their speech and ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Does it sound strange or slurred?
  • Y = Yes to any of these signs? Get BUSY and call 911, every minute counts with stroke!

Masquerade Gala Photos Live – RTH Stroke Foundation

Photos from this year’s Strikes Against Stroke event, entitled “Masquerade Gala” are now live! The event took place Saturday, September 24th at the Center Club in Costa Mesa. Special thanks to all attendees and everyone that came out to support our cause in eradicating stroke, we hope to see you at next year’s event!

World Stroke Day October 29th

Although the Foundation will be closed on the October 29th international World Stroke Day, we’d like to observe it in this post by thanking everyone in the stroke community for their continued efforts in combating this disease. Our hearts also go out to the many stroke survivors that must live daily with the debilitating after effects of stroke.

Since stroke is 80% preventable, through rigorous education and the implementation of days like World Stroke Day, we’ve seen stroke fall from the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States to the 5th – however there is still much that needs to be done as it remains the leading cause of disability in the United States. Beyond the United States, the World Health Organization found in 2012 that stroke was the 2nd leading cause of death worldwide.

We encourage our visitors to raise awareness of stroke by learning, posting on social media, or educating others about the F.A.S.T. method which is the easiest way to identify and act on stroke.


Face: Does one side of the face droop, is the face uneven?

Arm: Can the person lift both arms, can they walk and use both legs?

Speech: Is the person’s speech slurred, are the words unintelligible?

Time: Yes to any of the above symptoms? Call 911, every minute counts with stroke.

Risk factors you can’t control – RTH Stroke Foundation

Non-modifiable Risk Factors

Age: As one gets older, the risk of stroke increases. After the age of 55, the chances of stroke double every ten years. Approximately two-thirds of strokes occur in patients over the age of 65.

Gender: Stroke is 25% more prevalent in men than women, yet women are more likely to die from stroke.

Race: The rate of stroke differs among races, which is most likely associated to genetic factors. Social factors, such as lifestyle and environment are also believed to contribute to these differences. African-Americans, Hispanics and Asian/Pacific Islanders are all at greater risk for strokes than Caucasians.

Heredity/Genetics: Having a family history of cerebrovascular disease (e.g. stroke) appears to be a contributing factor to stroke. Although you do not have control over your genetics or family history, positive steps can be made to lower your risk of stroke.If you have already experienced a stroke or TIA, you are at a higher risk of having a stroke in the future. Be sure to consult with your primary care physician to best decrease your risk of having another or new stroke. =

Transient Ischemic Attacks or TIAs: TIAs are mini warning strokes that produce stroke-like symptoms, but with no lasting damage. If you have had one or more TIAs, the likelihood that you will have a stroke is tenfold greater than that of someone of your age and gender who has not.

Heart Attack: A heart attack is a strong indicator that you could have a stroke sometime in the future. Leading an intensely heart healthy lifestyle after your attack can improve the odds.

Recognizing Symptoms – RTH Stroke Foundation

Recognizing Symptoms

The first key to preventing stroke is to know the symptoms.

These include:

  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking 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
  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg – especially on one side of the body.

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