Kentucky has high number of stroke deaths

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – It’s the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, claiming thousands of lives each year and it’s preventable.

That’s why health professionals across the country are raising awareness about stroke this month. Kentucky faces high rates of stroke deaths. According to the University of Kentucky HealthCare, in 2015 the state was ranked 12th for highest number of stroke deaths.

High blood pressure, obesity and cigarette smoking are top risk factors for stroke. In Kentucky, high blood pressure is the top condition that leads to people having strokes.

“We have a large number of obese people, a large percentage of people who smoke and a large population with other underlying cardiovascular problems. So, all those can increase our risk for stroke, which is why in Kentucky and even in Bowling Green we have probably a higher percentage than nationwide,” said Jim Williams, field operations manager at Medical Center EMS.

Emergency responders and health professional encourage the community to recognize the signs of stroke; numbness of face and/or limbs, difficulty walking and speaking.