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For Immediate Release
May 30, 2024
Elizabeth Goodsitt, 608-266-1683
Jennifer Miller, 608-266-1683

DHS Expands Stroke Prevention Campaign

Highlights risk factors and signs of stroke

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is continuing to raise awareness about prevention, treatment, and recovery from stroke by launching an expanded statewide public awareness campaign to teach people how they can reduce their stroke risk, how to know if someone is having a stroke, and to act quickly if they or someone near them is having a stroke.

This expanded campaign comes as data show stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. Each year in Wisconsin, about 11,000 people will have a stroke, and 2,700 will die.

"Stroke impacts people across the state," said DHS State Health Officer Paula Tran. "Through this campaign, we are working to get information out in communities across the state, with a focus on reaching people who are most at risk and who can take steps now to protect their health."

A stroke occurs when the flow of blood to the brain is reduced or blocked, resulting in the brain not getting the oxygen and nutrients it needs to function properly. This causes damage to parts of the brain within minutes, making awareness of how to prevent stroke and how to respond to stroke symptoms critical to quality of life and survival.

"Strokes are largely preventable," said Jasmine Zapata, Chief Medical Officer for the DHS Bureau of Community Health Promotion in the Division of Public Health. "While it's important to know how to spot a stroke when it's happening, we also want to share what people can do to reduce the chances of having one."

The campaign features two characters who offer life-saving messages. Existing BE FAST Bella ads will continue to educate Wisconsinites about the signs of stroke, including changes to a person's Balance, Eyes, Face, Arm, Speech, and a Terrible headache.

New to the campaign is Risk Factor Rick, who shares important information about what people can do to reduce the chance of having a stroke, like exercising more, monitoring blood pressure, quitting the use of commercial tobacco products, limiting the amount of alcohol they drink, and eating more fresh fruits and vegetables.

The ads also encourage people to dial 911 immediately if they think they or someone they know is having a stroke to get care quickly.

The campaign is one part of the state's public health response to reduce strokes and other chronic diseases. The major risk factors of stroke, as well as the ways to reduce risk, are shaped heavily by the places where we live and work.

"Our own health really starts in our homes, schools, and communities," said DHS State Health Officer Paula Tran. "We're working with public health partners across Wisconsin to support communities in their efforts to prevent stroke by making healthy choices possible and accessible. That can include increasing access to healthy foods and making outdoor activities safe and accessible. This statewide focus is critical to supporting the health of every Wisconsinite."

Find information and resources to help prevent and respond to strokes at Wisconsin Coverdell Stroke Program: BE FAST.


Last revised May 30, 2024