Saving lives

Screenings best way to avoid often undetectable strokes

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Stroke is the third leading cause of death in America, and on Wednesday, Craig residents rose against it.

From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., a steady stream of patients filtered into the Elks Lodge, where Life Line Screening, a mobile health screening service, tested patients for susceptibility to stroke.

The health service screened for carotid artery/stroke, abdominal aortic aneurysm, peripheral arterial disease and osteoporosis.

"This is awesome. For only $139, you get four tests," Fidelis Vigil said.

Vigil had been worried about her health and used the screen to go the extra mile to be health conscious.

"I wanted to get checked for my arteries," she said. "I feel more confident after having it."

One of the best ways to prevent a stroke is to test for blockage in your carotid arteries, according to a Life Line Screening information packet. The health service also said this blockage can be treated, but studies show 50 percent of strokes occur without warning, so it's hard to know you have a problem without being screened.

Factors that increase risk of stroke include a high-fat diet, being overweight, a lack of exercise, a family history and smoking. The risk for stroke doubles every decade after age 55, according to Life Line.

Stroke warning signs include sudden weakness or numbness in the face, arms or legs, difficulty speaking, sudden dimness of vision and sudden severe headaches or dizziness.

Frank Sadvar, of the Elks Lodge and former director of plant operations at The Memorial Hospital, worked at the event Wednesday and said patients were impressed with how quickly the screening went.

"It was good enough that we invited them back next year," Sadvar said.

The screening used non-evasive techniques to test high-risk causes of strokes.

"This was my first time," Vigil said. "I thought it was pretty good."

Vigil said she's trying to go down the right track, get back into exercising and being more healthy.

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