Stroke remains a top health concern for Erie County

Sat, Dec 22nd 2018 06:00 am

In timing with World Stroke Awareness Day, Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns and C.J. Urlaub, president and CEO of Mercy Hospital of Buffalo, announced the results of the 'Stroke Prevention Carotid Artery Screenings' conducted at the Erie County Auto Bureaus. This program was a continued, collaborative effort between the clerk's office and the hospital to help improve health in our community, through the Clerk's Wellness Collaborative.

This unique wellness initiative began last February when Kearns and Mercy Hospital partnered to offer free blood pressure screenings at various auto bureau locations. Over 200 residents were screened and 38 percent of participants were found to have high blood pressure and were consulted to seek treatment.

According to the Stroke Prevention Carotid Artery Screenings Report, registered nurses from Catholic Health conducted over 200 free carotid artery readings at the auto bureaus leading up to World Stroke Awareness Day. Hospital accredited labs will perform carotid ultrasound screenings for anywhere between $200 and $300, but usually with a doctor's orders. However, this service was offered at no cost to visitors at the Erie County Auto Bureaus, through the partnership between Mercy Hospital of Buffalo and the Erie County Clerk's Office. Twelve participants were found to be at risk of stroke, due to calcifications within the arteries.

Carotid artery screenings are a painless, non-invasive test that uses ultrasound technology to detect blockages in the two large blood vessels in the neck that supply blood to the brain. Blockages in these arteries account for up to 75 percent of strokes and can be treated.  Research shows that 50 percent of strokes occur without warning and stroke is the number two leading cause of death in the world. The rate of stroke death in Erie County is higher than the national average and is 60 percent higher than the New York State average.

Kearns and Urlaub highlighted the benefit of the medical field and government working together to reach out to the community and positively curve the trend of health in the county.

"The concept of being able to receive a mini health checkup while stopping by your local auto bureau is non-traditional and unique, that's why I think it will be useful," Kearns said. "The ways in which members of our community receive health care information are changing. We must be pervasive and expose people to health information where they would not typically be exposed to it. As a point in the community where a high number of people regularly visit, the auto bureaus are key places to continue this wellness initiative. I want to thank Catholic Health Mercy Hospital of Buffalo for their proactive efforts to bring these free health screenings to the community."

"Our goal as one of the largest hospitals serving the Buffalo region and as a partner in this Clerk's Wellness Collaborative, is to help make our community healthier by reducing the prevalence of heart disease and stroke," Urlaub said. "Mercy Hospital, as with other hospitals across the country, are going beyond our traditional role of caring for the sick and beginning to focus more on keeping people healthy through collaborative efforts with other community organizations."  

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