By the President of the United States of America
Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and a major cause of adult disability. It strikes between 400,000 and 600,000 Americans each year. Many of its victims, their brain cells damaged by impaired circulation, never fully regain their physical and mental abilities. Stroke costs this country more than $11 billion annually in medical treatment and lost productivity, but far more regrettable is the immeasurable suffering it brings to victims and their families.
Stroke occurs suddenly, abruptly ending careers and thwarting plans for the future. Its causes, however, are more subtle. Stroke can result from a blood clot that blocks circulation, a buildup of fatty deposits in arteries that then become dangerously narrow, or the rupture of a blood vessel in the brain. Smoking, diabetes, and stress also may contribute to a stroke attack.
Stroke can often be avoided by controlling its risk factors. Paying attention to stroke's warning signals, particularly the symptoms of a transient ischemic attack, or "little stroke," can prevent serious damage to a victim's health and may even save his life. During this temporary attack, a person may experience numbness, weakness, or tingling in an extremity or side of the face, momentarily lose sight in one or both eyes, or have difficulty speaking. Such a "little stroke" requires immediate medical attention to prevent its probable recurrence as a major attack.
Scientists, physicians, and public health educators are working hard to eliminate the threat of stroke. Within the Federal Government, the research assault on this disease is being led by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Several major clinical trials of preventive treatments are currently being conducted, and 13 clinical research centers have been established in medical complexes across the country.
However, because so many of the condition's risk factors can be minimized by personal effort, public awareness is the key weapon in conquering stroke. The National Stroke Association, the National Heart Association, and other private voluntary agencies play an important role in educating the public about stroke and provide valuable services for victims and their families. We do well to support their efforts and to heed their advice in caring for our health.
To enhance public awareness of stroke, the Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 62, has designated the month of May 1989 as "National Stroke Awareness Month" and has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this occasion.
Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the month of May 1989 as National Stroke Awareness Month. I call upon the people of the United States to observe the month with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this eleventh day of May, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirteenth.