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Geisinger Stroke Program director provides advice on avoiding stroke

CONTACT:  Mike Ferlazzo: 570-214-7410, 515-450-2908 (c)
May 17, 2013


DANVILLE, Pa. – Edgar Kenton, M.D., knows painfully well how stroke can be a killer. Now a neurologist and director of the Geisinger Stroke Program, Dr. Kenton watched his grandfather suffer a stroke that eventually killed him.
He now makes both stroke prevention and treatment his life’s work. And he emphasizes that high blood pressure is the single most important risk factor for stroke.

Dr. Kenton says even mild hypertension increases stroke risk, if inadequately treated. And a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that nearly one in three American adults have hypertension and more than half of them (36 million) don’t have it under control.

“It is imperative to check your blood pressure regularly,” Dr. Kenton said. “Controlling it through a low-sodium diet, weight control, stress management and medication will reduce your stroke risk.”

Taking regular aspirin may help prevent a second stroke, he says. But he warns patients to talk with their doctors first because it may not be wise to take aspirin if you have a serious allergy or history of bleeding.

Although taking an occasional aspirin or two is safe for most adults to use for headaches, body aches or fever, he says daily use of aspirin can have serious side effects, including internal bleeding.

Proper diet is also critical in stroke prevention, according to Dr. Kenton. Foods high in fat, salt, and cholesterol increase your risk for stroke.

“Excess fat in food, particularly saturated fat, and cholesterol can contribute to arteriosclerotic vascular disease, a precursor of stroke,” he said.

Dr. Kenton also recommends we watch our weight. Being too heavy strains the heart and blood vessels and is associated with hypertension. Obesity also predisposes a person to hypertension and diabetes, both of which are stroke risks.

To help drive home these stroke prevention tips, Dr. Kenton will join Scott Alexander, M.P.T., certified neurological specialist and stroke program coordinator for Geisinger HealthSouth, in a free seminar on “Recent Advances in Stroke Therapy” on Friday, May 24, at 3 p.m. in the inpatient dining room at Geisinger HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital, 2 Rehab Lane in Danville. For more information, contact Jim Myers, R.N., at 1-800-232-8260.

Geisinger Health System
Geisinger Health System is an integrated health services organization widely recognized for its innovative use of the electronic health record, and the development of innovative care models such as ProvenHealth Navigator® and ProvenCare®. As the nation’s largest rural health services organization, Geisinger serves more than 2.6 million residents throughout 44 counties in central and northeastern Pennsylvania. The physician-led system is comprised of more than 17,000 employees, including a 900-member multi-specialty group practice, six hospital campuses, two research centers and a 310,000-member health plan, all of which leverage an estimated $5.5 billion positive impact on the Pennsylvania economy. The health system and the health plan have repeatedly garnered national accolades for integration, quality and service. In addition to fulfilling its patient care mission, Geisinger has a long-standing commitment to medical education, research and community service. For more information, visit  Geisinger. Follow the latest Geisinger news and more at Twitter and  Facebook

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