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Join Atrium Health Navicent in Observing National Stroke Month in May

Central Georgians are at an increased risk of stroke

Atrium Health Navicent invites the community to observe National Stroke Month during May by learning to recognize and react to the signs of stroke.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds. Every 3.5 minutes, someone dies of stroke. Every year in the U.S., about 795,000 people suffer a stroke, and about 610,000 of these are first-time strokes.

Central Georgians are at an increased risk for stroke due to the prevalence of common risk factors that include high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and tobacco use. Georgia is in the “Stroke Belt,” an area in the Southeastern United States where stroke deaths are approximately 30 percent higher than the rest of the country. In 2020, Georgia held the 12th highest stroke death rate in the country.

Atrium Health Navicent physicians remind the public to act FAST, seeking immediate medical attention, if they experience any of these signs or symptoms:

• F – Facial weakness (Can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?)

• A – Arm or leg weakness (Can the person raise both arms?)

• S – Speech difficulty (Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?)

• T – Time to act (Seek medical attention immediately!)

“Stroke is the leading cause of disability in the United States, but individuals can reduce their risk of stroke by making lifestyle changes and following up with a doctor for treatment of hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity and sleep apnea,” said Atrium Health Navicent Stroke Medical Director Dr. Matthew Smith. “It’s important that everyone is aware of the signs and symptoms of stroke and that they seek medical attention FAST if they suspect a stroke has occurred.”

In addition to being recognized as a “high performing” stroke center by U.S. News & World Report, Atrium Health Navicent The Medical Center is an 11-time recipient of the “Get with the Guidelines – Stroke Gold” Quality Achievement Award, an annual award presented by the American Heart Association (AHA) and American Stroke Association for excellence in stroke care. The health system earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period.

Atrium Health Navicent also has been named to AHA’s “Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus” for four years. The Honor Roll recognizes the hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

For the second consecutive year, Atrium Health Navicent has been named to AHA’s “Target Type 2 Diabetes” Honor Roll, which recognizes hospitals that are taking steps to help stroke patients control and manage Type 2 diabetes, a well-established risk factor for stroke.

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About Atrium Health Navicent

Atrium Health Navicent is the leading provider of healthcare in central and south Georgia and is committed to its mission of elevating health and wellbeing through compassionate care. Atrium Health Navicent provides high-quality, personalized care in 53 specialties at more than 50 facilities throughout the region. As part of the largest, integrated, nonprofit health system in the Southeast, it is also able to tap into some of the nation’s leading medical experts and specialists with Atrium Health, allowing it to provide the best care close to home – including advanced innovations in virtual medicine and care. Throughout its 125-year history in the community, Atrium Health Navicent has remained dedicated to enhancing health and wellness for individuals throughout the region through nationally recognized quality care, community health initiatives and collaborative partnerships. It is also one of the leading teaching hospitals in the region, helping to ensure viability for rural health care for the next generation. For more information, please visit