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After Decline, Stroke Death Rate Levels Off In Arizona

By Stina Sieg
Published: Monday, September 11, 2017 - 7:01am
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The number of people dying from strokes has leveled off in Arizona – after years being on the decline.

But the rate of death due to stroke is still much lower than it was in the past, Wayne Tormala said, chief of the Bureau of Tobacco and Chronic Disease at the Arizona Department of Health Services. 

Tormala said his department helped oversee changes that may have improved this rate, such as working with rural hospitals to increase stroke protocols.

Now “we’ve got to reach deeper,” he said. “We’ve really got to go and talk to people about risk factors, prevention, ideas and also the need to get immediate treatment if stroke symptoms appear.”

Tormala said those symptoms include someone’s face drooping to one side, slurred speech and arms or legs getting numb.

“You can ask the person to smile and see what the symmetry is there. You can ask the person to raise both arms, and maybe they can’t. Ask the person to speak a simple sentence,” he said. “If you see these signs, then the recommendation is to immediately call 911.”

When it comes to stroke, Tormala said, medical attention can’t wait. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in Arizona.

Tormala said the best way to avoid a stroke is to live a healthy, active lifestyle.