Children educated on risks of stroke

Strokes are the leading cause of disability in the US, and one of the leading causes of death.

Experts say it is important to recognize the signs and get to a hospital quickly.

It is not often kids get to show off their dance moves during the school day.

It is even less common that it could save lives.

Fifth graders at Mahalia Jackson Elementary School in Harlem are doing both.

It is part of a program called Hip-Hop Stroke being pioneered by the National Stroke Association. "Children can be an effective tool for educating their parents, as well as their grandparents. So the idea here is to teach the kids about the warning signs and symptoms of stroke," says Jim Baranski of the National Stroke Association.

The idea is to teach kids about stroke in a fun, upbeat way.

The key to doing that is communicating that message using music and role models they listen to.

The target communities are African American because of the huge impact stroke has there. "Twice as many people die from strokes within the African American community as our white counterparts,” Dr Olajide Williams of Harlem Hospital center explains. “Interestingly also, African American community tend to arrive later at the emergency room than their white counterparts."

The kids start out knowing little about stroke, but after an hour a day for three days they know plenty, especially important is how to recognize the signs of a stroke using F.A.ST.

F is for face.

Your smile can drop.

A is for arms, and it means if you have a stroke, one of your arms will probably be down, and the next one will be up.

S is for speech, and you probably won't be able to talk, you might sound funny.

T is for time, and it is time to call 911.

Not only do the kids have a good time learning, they remember it.

They score 80% when they are tested on stroke facts six months after their hip-hop lesson.

There used to be little a doctor could do for a stroke victim.

But now, a clot-busting drug can save lives and reduce brain damage from a stroke.

That is if the drug is given to the patient within the first three hours after symptoms appear.

The risk of a stroke is higher for people who battled certain types of cancers and treatments as a child.

Kids who survived brain tumors were eight to ten times more likely than their healthy brothers and sisters to have a stroke later in life, that is according to a large study from UT Southwestern Medical Center.

That risk went up to 15 times more likely if the patient had been treated with radiation.

Leukemia survivors were also two to three times more likely to have a stroke.

Researchers say strokes often hit childhood cancer survivors when they are in their 20's and 30's.

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