Stroke Awareness by: Chilume Mothusi, MD, MBA Lead Physician: Family Medicine, Whittier Street Health Center

  • May 2, 2016

May is National Stoke Awareness and we are using this opportunity to educate our patients, community residents and others about stroke.


Strokes account for about 130, 000 deaths in the United States every year, which means that about every 4 minutes someone dies from a devastating stroke. Those that are lucky enough to survive a stroke are often left with life changing disabilities. Many people are not aware that they are having a stroke so they do not seek the medical care that can save their life or reduce the severity of the stroke. Additionally, many do not know what avoidable factors about their health put them at increased risk of stroke.


What is a stroke?

A stroke can occur when one or more blood vessels that supply blood to the different parts of the brain are blocked causing the supply of oxygenated, nutrient rich blood to that part of the brain to stop. It can also be caused by a blood vessel bursting causing leakage of blood into brain tissue. In either case the result is death of brain cells. 80% of strokes are caused by blockage of a blood vessel, which can be reversed by medication if it is diagnosed within a certain window of time. If the stroke is caused by bleeding, there are medications that can arrest the bleeding and reduce severity of the stroke. This means that recognizing the symptoms of a stroke and immediately seeking care can be potentially lifesaving.

Minorities and Stroke


Minorities have higher stroke risks, stroke occurrence at an earlier age, and for some more severe strokes. Although certain risk factors for stroke, such as genetics or family history cannot be controlled, others such as high blood pressure or diabetes can go unrecognized. Knowing your risk factors for stroke and controlling them is the first step in preventing a stroke.


What are the symptoms of a stroke?

  • Sudden, severe headache with no clear explanation
  • Difficulty or inability to speak or understand others
  • Weakness on one side of the face or body
  • Sudden vision loss

What are the risk factors of stroke?

  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Smoking
  • Heart disease
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • High cholesterol


Quitting smoking and ensuring that your Diabetes and blood pressure are well controlled can significantly reduce your risk of stroke. Additionally regular exercise and a healthy diet can also go a long way to reducing your risk of stroke.


For more information, please contact the Family Medicine team at Whittier Street Health Center: 617 427 1000



A note about Whittier and COVID-19

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in our area, we ask all clients and patients to call ahead before coming to any of our sites. We are working to take care of most clients/patients via phone/video encounter so we can meet your ongoing healthcare needs. This is for your safety and so we can provide the highest quality of care to you while following CDC guidance for COVID-19. Please call 617-427-1000 for any questions or concerns.

Whittier will provide COVID-19 testing from 10 am to 4 pm on Monday to Friday. Following CDC guidance, we recommend testing if you have a fever AND one of the following three symptoms: cough OR shortness of breath OR sore throat. Please bring your picture identification and your insurance card (if you have insurance).