Stroke Center May Mean Healthier Lives

Friday, March 28th 2008, 10:21 pm
By: News On 6

There's a grim milestone for Oklahomans and our health.  News On 6 anchor Jennifer Loren reports strokes are the third leading cause of death in the United States and Oklahoma is listed as one of the states with the highest prevalence of stroke.

Kate Byrd is a 74-year-old grandmother who moved to the Tulsa area to be close to her family, including her daughter, Kristi.

"If I need them, they'll come to me if I need them," said Kate Byrd.

And, about three weeks ago, Kate needed her daughter.

"I made a banana nut bread. And I took it out of the oven when it got done, but I don't remember doing anything else with it," said Kate Byrd.

Kate became confused, but her daughter was nearby.

"I just knew that even though she had just lost a few minutes of her day that that was not normal and that was not normal for her to be confused," said Kristi Rains.

Kristi took Kate to St. John's where doctors said Kate had had a mini-stroke.

"The stroke center is a kind of a conveyor belt, starting in the emergency room," said Dr. Patrick Han.

He is the co-medical director of St. John's new Stroke Center, the first of its kind, he says, in Tulsa.

Dr. Han says it's unique because of their multidisciplinary team and their advanced therapies and treatments.

"Because stroke is a time-dependant disease, the quicker that a diagnosis is made and the quicker treatment is given, can improve outcome, there's no question," said Dr. Patrick Han.

The stroke center is beneficial to Oklahoma because we have one of the highest occurrences of stroke in the country.

"I think that's based on genetics, smoking prevalence, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, diet and lifestyle," said Dr. Patrick Han.

The bottom line is that many Oklahomans need to change their lifestyles.  Meanwhile, Dr. Han says they'll lead an effort toward stroke prevention.

That way more grandmothers like Kate Byrd will live healthier, fuller lives.

"You've got to be involved with your grandchildren. Of course, most of them are grown up now. But, there are some great grandkids that I want to be around for," said Kate Byrd.

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