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Brexit wins at the polls in the U.K.; major changes come to New England immigration courts today; and more than a million acres in California have been cleared for oil and gas drilling.

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The House passes legislation to reign in drug prices, Sen. Bernie Sanders is on the upswing, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang plays Iowa congressional candidate J.D. Scholten - who's running against long-time incumbent Steve King - in a game of basketball.

Take Care of the “Plumbing in Your Brain”

Sudden problems with balance, vision or speech, or sudden weakness in one arm, or paralysis in one part of the face may be a sign of a stroke. (Adobe Stock)
Sudden problems with balance, vision or speech, or sudden weakness in one arm, or paralysis in one part of the face may be a sign of a stroke. (Adobe Stock)
May 2, 2019

MADISON, Wis. – May is American Stroke Month, and the American Heart Association is urging folks to take the occasion to check the "brain's plumbing."

Dr. Erik Tarula, a neurosurgery professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says there are two kinds of strokes – one with similarities to the pipes in a house that get clogged, and another where they spring a leak.

He says strokes often can be prevented by treating conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. However, since the brain generally doesn't feel pain, Tarula says these things can be silent killers.

"If you don't know something's going wrong, you can't fix it,” he explains. “And much like our normal plumbing system in our house, we usually don't know what's going wrong until something actually goes wrong. So to prevent these things? Knowing our cholesterol level, knowing our sugar level, and knowing our blood pressure."

To learn more about the heart association's Check, Change, Control blood pressure program, go to heart.org/bloodpressure.

According to the American Heart Association, the heart-disease death rate is more than half again higher in Native Americans than whites. The group says the stroke death rate is more than a third higher in African-Americans and Asians.

Tarula says there are broad health disparities for chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes for communities of color. And he says the conditions tend to be less well treated.

"Through complex genetics that we just don't totally understand yet, blacks, for instance, have a higher proportion of having high blood pressure,” he points out. “If we look at diabetes, Latino or Hispanic people are affected more by diabetes.

“It's important to know these things, but it's also important to know that just because you're black or Latino doesn't mean you're going to get one."

The heart association says stroke is the fifth most common cause of death and the leading cause of disability in the United States.

The group says nearly half of American adults have high blood pressure – the leading cause of stroke – but many are unaware they have it.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WI