State group studies stroke, does so outside Atlanta - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

State group studies stroke, does so outside Atlanta

October 18, 2007

Albany -- Healthier lifestyles could prevent a half million strokes a year in the United States.   

Thursday, the Joint Study Committee on the State Stroke System of Care met at Albany State University. Although changing health patterns could take decades, Dr. Doug Patten, an administrator at Phoebe Putney Hospital, suggested there are two things legislators could do now to curb the stroke rate: Raise taxes on tobacco products and expand the hypertension program within the state.  

"As the price of a pack of cigarettes gets closer to $8 to $10 a pack, usage drops off. We know that if we could combine declining tobacco use and more effective hypertension treatment, we would see dramatic reduction in stroke rates in less than a year," said the doctor.

He was 'amened' by Senator Don Thomas said, "I certainly agree, and you know really, to spend money on containing and preventing stroke, it saves money."

Stroke is the third leading cause of death. In Georgia, the death rate is 21% higher than the national death rate for stroke.

This committee is also breaking new ground, because it's not everyday that a joint study committee meets outside of Atlanta.

Representative Ed Rynders says it may be the first time the committee has ever met here in Albany. He says he invited the committee to Albany because it's right at the heart of the issue, when it comes to strokes, since it's such a health issue here.

"I've been told we've never had any kind of subcommittee here in Albany, I don't know if that's true or not, but we're certainly proud to be able to play host to a very important committee in health, looking at some of the disparities going on, and I think it also gives an opportunity to help showcase the area, and what Albany has to offer."

The committee members stayed in Albany last night, after a reception at the Flint Riverquarium.

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