On May 17, the American Stroke Association and the USC School of Medicine Greenville combined forces to teach over 150 middle schoolers at Hughes Academy the signs, symptoms and ways to prevent stroke. This marks the fourth year that the ASA and the USC School of Medicine Greenville have implemented the program with the ultimate goal of improving stroke rates in the Upstate.
So why teach middle schoolers about stroke? South Carolina has the sixth highest stroke death rate in the nation and is part of the “Stroke Belt,” a group of southeastern states with high stroke death rates. Yet, 80% of strokes are preventable.
“Lifestyle choices like poor diet and lack of exercise are major contributors to stroke” said Kelly Wilkins, Executive Director with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. “The sooner we can teach students how to live a healthy life, the better chance they have in preventing cardiovascular diseases in the future”.
With stroke being the leading cause of disability not only in South Carolina, but in the nation, recognizing the signs of stroke is another important part of the middle school stroke education program. Students at Hughes Academy learned the F.A.S.T. signs of stroke so they can recognize symptoms in family and friends. F.A.S.T. stand for, face drooping, arm weakness, speech difficult, and time to call 9-1-1.
The American Stroke Association and the USC School of Medicine Greenville have plans to expand the program in order to reach more students in the Upstate. They are looking to implement a fall semester program in the 2019-2020 school year. For more information or to participate in the Middle School Stroke Program, call 864-627-4158.
Our mission is to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. For nearly 100 years, we’ve been fighting heart disease and stroke, striving to save and improve lives. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer worldwide, and stroke ranks second globally. Even when those conditions don’t result in death, they cause disability and diminish quality of life. We want to see a world free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.