OKLAHOMA CITY -- The newly opened Mercy Clinic Stroke Prevention at the NeuroScience Institute is taking the treatment of stroke in an entirely new direction – preventing stroke before it happens through education, high quality medical care and management of personal risk.
"Misunderstanding the body and medical conditions are big reasons why many people are unhealthy," said Earlene Posselt, M.D., an internal medicine specialist leading the Mercy Clinic Stroke Prevention. "Patients need to know they can make a healthy change and it's our job to educate them."
Risk factors – such as diabetes, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure and high cholesterol – require both education and medical care to manage effectively. Removing alcohol and smoking from daily routines, making dietary changes and adding regular exercise, can also drastically reduce the threat of stroke.
"There has been a gap in the care of stroke patients," Dr. Posselt said. "When someone goes home after suffering a stroke, traditionally, they haven't received the education and medical care they need to help prevent a recurrent stroke. This is the perfect time to work with these patients because they're motivated to make the changes necessary to prevent a second stroke."
One in 12 stroke sufferers are likely to have another stroke soon after the initial attack and one in four will die within a year, based on a new study from the Medical University of South Carolina.
Oklahomans are especially vulnerable to stroke – considering their elevated rates of obesity, smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes and high-fat diets. On an average day, 26 Oklahomans will suffer a stroke and six victims will not survive, according to the National Stroke Association.
"With stroke, timing is everything," said Richard V. Smith, M.D., neurosurgeon and medical director of Mercy NeuroScience Institute. "The clock starts ticking once a patient experiences the first symptom. The longer the patient waits to get treatment, the greater the chance they live with long-term disabilities or die."
Heading off stroke before it has a chance to disable is the goal of Mercy Clinic Stroke Prevention. Patient education and focused medical management are the keys.
"Patients have the power to stop the development of stroke if they only know how," Posselt said.
For additional information about Mercy's stroke prevention program, call (405) 752-3966.