Heart Disease and Stroke
Early recognition of signs and symptoms of a heart attack or stroke and immediate access to emergency care is crucial for survival and positive outcomes. Minimizing the time that heart muscle cells or brain cells are depleted of oxygen will reduce the chance of permanent damage and disability. Stroke is a leading cause of serious long-term disability (e.g., paralysis, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, balance and coordination problems, cognitive deficits such as problems with memory, attention, learning, judgment, awareness, and thinking, aphasia, pain, recurrent stroke). After experiencing a heart attack or stroke it is essential for survivors to engage in treatment and rehabilitation that will lower the risk of experiencing another event.
Increasing both individual and community awareness of the risk factors, warning signs and symptoms and appropriate treatment of heart disease and stroke can be achieved by providing specific knowledge and skills to support healthy lifestyles (e.g. video and audiotapes on healthy eating, cooking, exercise and tobacco cessation classes), creating supportive social networks to encourage individuals to adopt healthy lifestyles and to assist in coping with the aftermath of a heart attack or stroke (e.g., telephone counseling services, peer educators, caregiver support groups) and increasing access to places in which to practice healthy lifestyles (e.g., recreation centers, walking trails, healthy options in restaurants). Enhanced access to quality preventive and emergency care and rehabilitation providers (e.g., specialized stroke unit, helicopter transport for rural areas, care at special stroke rehabilitation ward) can improve short and long term outcomes. Specific intervention strategies, tools and resources to address commonly associated risk factors of heart disease and stroke are provided in the Heart Disease and Stroke Intervention MICA. Other related Intervention MICA topics are:
Several resources are available to provide more information regarding prevention of and recovery from heart disease and stroke (e.g., educational materials/campaigns, provider training, self-management, integrated approaches to care, access to services and resources) and other risk factors associated with heart disease and stroke (e.g., obesity):
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