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Preventing death and disability from stroke

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August 24, 2017

Contact:  Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936

                Chuck Council, Communications Specialist, DPHHS, (406) 444-4391 

Preventing death and disability from stroke

Stroke is a life-changing event. Because it damages the brain, stroke can result in physical, mental and emotional disability. It is also a leading cause of death. 

But stroke can be prevented—and disability from stroke can be reduced or stopped by fast treatment.

The key is helping people know more about stroke. Toward that goal, a health education campaign is now underway for the Crow Indian Reservation and Big Horn County. It is a joint project of Crow Tribal Health, the nonprofit Messengers for Health and the Cardiovascular Health Program of the Department of Public Health and Human Services.

“Anything we can do to promote the well-being of our people, we must do. Whatever resource we can use is needed. This is an opportunity to teach people more reasons to keep to a healthy path, and how to do it,” said Henry Pretty On Top III, administrator of the Crow Tribe’s Department of Health and Human Services.

American Indians tend to have high rates of diabetes and high blood pressure. These conditions contribute to the chances of stroke.

“Use of street drugs such as meth can also lead to stroke,” said Pretty On Top, “so this campaign fits with our concern about epidemic drug use in our communities as well as healthy blood streams.”

Media advertising began this month. Educational materials are being distributed in the communities of Hardin, Crow Agency, Lodge Grass, Wyola, Pryor, Garryowen and St. Xavier.

All materials and methods for the education campaign were developed with advice and input from local health leadership, providers and educators.

“Our message is Diichikaatah in the Apsaalooké language,” said Alma McCormick, director of Messengers for Health. “It means respect yourself—take good care of yourself. That’s how you can prevent stroke.”

McCormick urged people to talk to a Mentor from Messengers for Health, the diabetes program, tobacco use prevention or their health care provider about their risk of stroke.

“We learn from each other, and we need to help each other learn about stroke,” she said.