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Supporting May's National Stroke Awareness Month

Tip to Identify Warning Signs and Prevent Stroke 

St. Petersburg, Fla., (May 6, 2011) - St. Anthony's Hospital joins the rest of the nation in recognizing National Stroke Awareness Month, an opportunity to educate the public on the warning signs of a stroke and stroke prevention.

A stroke occurs when one of the arteries carrying blood from the heart to the brain either is blocked or bursts. As a result, part of the brain does not get the blood it needs and brain cells start to die.

Nearly 700,000 people suffer a stroke each year, an average of one stroke every 40 seconds. Strokes are the third leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of long-term disability.

"As part of our mission to promote the health of our community, our goal is to increase prevention and treatment education with the goal of reducing stroke incidence," said St. Anthony's neurologist Allan Weiss, MD, medical director of stroke services. "Early treatment may provide the opportunity to reverse some or all of the symptoms of stroke."

According to the American Stroke Association (ASA), warning signs of a stroke include: 

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body

  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding

  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes

  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination

  • Sudden, severe headache with no known causes

"People experiencing these symptoms should immediately call 9-1-1," said Dr. Weiss. "Early treatment can help prevent long-lasting negative effects of a stroke."

St. Anthony's has been a local leader in stroke care, earning the Gold Plus Award from the ASA for achieving quality measures and being designated an Advanced Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission.

In addition, St. Anthony's features specialized emergency care for stroke with its Brain Attack Team, assembled to bring together medical professionals, resources and technology to stop or minimize damage to the patient's brain and body.

Studies show people who adopt a healthy lifestyle might lower their risk of a first stroke by 80 percent. Guidelines to help reduce the risk of stroke include: 

  • Control hypertension (high blood pressure)

  • Lower your cholesterol levels

  • Control diabetes

  • Identify and treat atrial fibrillation (abnormal heartbeat)

  • Healthy habits

    • Stop smoking

    • Limit alcohol use

    • Exercise regularly

    • Eat a healthy diet 

About St. Anthony's Hospital

St. Anthony's Hospital is a 395-bed hospital founded in 1931 as a ministry of the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany and is the first and only faith-based hospital in Pinellas County. As St. Anthony's celebrates its 80th year in 2011, the hospital continues its rich history dedicated to improving the health of the community by providing high-quality, innovative and compassionate care.  St. Anthony's has received the 2010 American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's Get With The Guidelines Stroke Gold Plus Performance Achievement award.  St. Anthony's Susan Sheppard McGillicuddy Breast Center received accreditation from both the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers and the American College of Radiology. For superior energy efficiency, St. Anthony's earned the EPA's ENERGY STAR two consecutive times.

About BayCare Health System

BayCare Health System is a leading community-based health system in the Tampa Bay area. Composed of a network of 10 not-for-profit hospitals, outpatient facilities and services such as imaging, lab, behavioral health and home health care, BayCare provides expert medical care throughout a patient's lifetime. With more than 200 access points conveniently located throughout Tampa Bay, BayCare connects patients to a complete range of preventive, diagnostic and treatment services for any health care need. 

BayCare's family of hospitals are: Mease Countryside, Mease Dunedin, Morton Plant, Morton Plant North Bay, St. Anthony's, St. Joseph's, St. Joseph's Children's, St. Joseph's Hospital-North, St. Joseph's Women's, and South Florida Baptist. For more information, visit BayCare on the Web at


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Beth Hardy, (727) 298-6199 Phone, (727) 402-8113 Pager

Sherry Robinson, (727) 825-1445 Phone, (727) 257-7052