Loudoun County is launching a public awareness campaign aimed at residents, visitors and county employees about the importance of recognizing symptoms of a stroke and the need to call 911 immediately. At its June 7, 2022, meeting, the Board of Supervisors adopted a proclamation declaring Loudoun to be a “Stroke Smart County,” joining a regional and statewide effort to improve the outcomes for people suffering a stroke.
“On behalf of my fellow stroke survivors, our families, our caregivers, we thank you for recognizing the devastating impact that strokes can have on families and for raising awareness through this proclamation,” said Larry Dilworth, a stroke survivor who joined members of the Board for the proclamation. “I truly appreciate the chance to be here to share my story about how a stroke can affect anyone.”
A stroke is a medical emergency that occurs when something blocks blood flow to the brain or a blood vessel in the brain bursts. Symptoms include:
- Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body. (Classic signs of a stroke include a droopy smile or an inability to raise one arm.)
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or difficulty understanding speech.
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness loss of balance or lack of coordination.
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
The window of time for treatment is very short; patients with the best outcomes call 911 immediately after the signs begin.
Strokes are the No. 1 cause of long-term disability in the U.S., with one in six people suffering a stroke in their lifetime. Although effective treatment can leave the patient with no lasting effects, most stroke patients do not access that treatment in time, often because they don’t recognize the signs of a stroke.
The Board’s proclamation encourages members of the community to participate in the “Stroke Smart: Spot-a-Stroke, Stop-a-Stroke, Save-a-Life” campaign to help reduce the deaths and disabilities caused by strokes. The proclamation was presented to members of the Loudoun County Combined Fire and Rescue System, Northern Virginia Emergency Medical Services, Inova Health and Dilworth, who advocates for early stroke recognition and access to treatment to prevent others from a difficult recovery such as his.
To learn more about regional stroke smart efforts, including to view a video, review more information about the signs and symptoms of stroke, early recognition and responses, and how to be a “stroke smart champion” in your community, visit the Northern Virginia EMS Council’s website.
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