World Stroke Day - Patient Self-Testing Playing a Key Role in Reducing Stroke

By: Alere Staff
Publication Date: Tue, 10/01/2013

World Stroke Day, chosen by the World Stroke Organization for October 29th, as the day where all of us should focus on stroke risk for ourselves, family and friends.1 Stroke remains the number one cause of adult disability, but it is also one of the most preventable causes of death.

Stroke is a sudden reduction in blood flow to your brain. A hemorrhagic stroke is caused by a broken blood vessel in your brain. Blood outside your vessels cannot provide oxygen rich blood to your brain. An ischemic stroke is the second type of stroke and caused by a blocked artery which provides oxygen to the brain. Ischemic strokes are the most common stroke type.

Symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding others
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden dizziness, trouble walking, loss of balance
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause1

Call 911 emergency if you or someone you love is experiencing any of the above symptoms.

Choices you can make today to reduce your risk of stroke tomorrow

Your risk of stroke includes things like your age, gender and ethnicity, which are variables you cannot change. You can though reduce your risk of stroke by making healthier food choices including foods low in fat, salt and sugar, and keeping active. Limiting alcohol and stop smoking are also strongly recommended.1

Also, take the Million Hearts pledge to help prevent stroke by making healthy choices. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched the program called “Million Hearts” with a goal to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. Each of us play a role in achieving this goal by the decisions we make.2

To prevent ischemic stroke, warfarin (brand name Coumadin® medication) is frequently prescribed by clinicians. It reduces your blood’s ability to form blood clots – a common cause of blood vessel blockage. If you take warfarin or know someone who does, you can improve how well this important medicines works to prevent stroke while improving the safety of this life-saving drug.3

Improving warfarin safety and efficacy means keeping the drug in its ‘safe zone’. Studies have shown that increasing testing frequency with weekly testing of INR improves patient safety and keeps the drug in its therapeutic effective zone .3,4 Weekly testing was shown to be the most effective testing frequency.3 Medicare and many private/commercial insurance reimburse patients for weekly patient self-testing.5 Go to the Getting Started page or call Alere at 1.800.504.4032 for more information about testing your INR at home.

Do something for World Stroke Day to help yourself and contribute to the Million Hearts goal of increasing the world life expectancy.

  1. October 29 is World Stroke Day. Retrieved July 17, 2013, from Center for Disease Control and Prevention Web site http://www.cdc.gov/Features/worldstrokeday/.
  2. Be One in a Million Hearts®. Retrieved July 17, 2013 from Million Hearts® Web site http://millionhearts.hhs.gov/be_one_mh.html.
  3. Ansell, J. Patient Self-Testing: Real-World Experience Within a Comprehensive Support Service Represents a New Standard of Care, Attaining High Quality Anticoagulation Control. March 2012. Poster presented at: American College of Cardiology.
  4. Heneghan C., et al. Self-monitoring of oral anticoagulation: a systematic review and meta-analysis. 2006. Lancet, 367, 404-11.
  5. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Decision Memo for Prothrombin Time (INR) Monitor for Home Anticoagulation Management  (CAG-00087R) [Memorandum]. 2008. Baltimore, MD.