Prairie Faith Health Ministry News

Walking alongside individuals to meet physical, emotional and spiritual needs,

by connecting and/or creating healthy resources for their lives.

Click here to see our Health Ministry November Newsletter Insert -----> 11-2019.pdf



 From the moment you start to experience stroke symptoms, the clock starts ticking. Every minute that passes can make a difference in how many of your brain cells are dying – approximately 2 million per minute of delay!

What is stroke? A stroke, sometimes called a brain attack, happens in one of two ways:


    • Ischemic stroke—when the blood supply to the brain is blocked
    • Hemorrhagic stroke—when a blood vessel in the brain bursts

A stroke causes brain tissue to die, which can lead to brain damage, disability, and death. Stroke is the number five cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of serious long-term disability. Every year, about 800,000 people in the United States have a stroke—and about 1 out of 4 of those strokes are recurrent strokes. Having one stroke means you have a greater risk of having another (or recurrent) stroke. Stroke kills nearly 150,000 of the 860,000 Americans who die of cardiovascular disease each year—that’s 1 in every 19 deaths from all causes.

What are the signs and symptoms of stroke?


An easy way to remember the most common signs of stroke and how to respond is with the acronym F.A.S.T.


F = Face drooping: Ask the person to smile. Does one side droop?

A = Arm weakness: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

= Speech difficulty: Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Are the words slurred?

= Time to call 9-1-1: If the person shows any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately. 

Other common signs of stroke are:

  • Sudden dizziness, trouble walking, or loss of balance or coordination

  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes

  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

  • Sudden numbness of the face, arm, or leg

  • Sudden confusion or trouble understanding others

If you think that you or someone you know is having a stroke, call 9-1-1 immediately. Stroke is a medical emergency, and stroke treatment and outcomes depend on how fast you get to the hospital and the type of stroke the person had.


When you are transported by ambulance, first responders are able to immediately begin assessment and initial treatment, and they will alert the hospital that a stroke patient is on the way. This notification gives the hospital’s medical team time to prepare equipment and medicines you may need.


Are you at risk for stroke? About 80% of strokes are preventable! You can greatly reduce your risk for stroke by making lifestyle changes to help control your blood pressure and cholesterol levels and, in some cases, by taking medication. Several factors that are beyond your control can increase your risk for stroke. These include your age, sex, and ethnicity. High blood pressure is the single most important treatable risk factor for stroke. Preventing, diagnosing, and controlling it through lifestyle changes and medicine are critical to reducing stroke risks. There are several steps you can take to reduce your risk for a stroke: 

  • Prevent or manage your other health conditions, especially high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity.
  • Eat a healthy diet low in sodium with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Don’t smoke, and avoid secondhand smoke.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Limit alcohol use.
  • Be physically active.
  • Manage your stress in healthy ways.


    Sources of information and to read more about testing, treatment, stroke survivor stories, healthy lifestyles, etc.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

American Stroke Association


Meet the members of the Health Ministry Advisory Board—Chapter Three


     Liz Deines’ first health ministry advisory board meeting was in January of 2016! She writes to us, “My name is Liz Deines. I was baptized, confirmed, and married at Zion Lutheran Church. It has been my home church for most of my adult life. I have enjoyed belonging to the WELCA group at Zion for the fellowship and the service projects we do, and I thought the health ministry advisory board would be another opportunity for those activities. My personal wellness goals are to exercise and eat healthier to live a longer and better life. In taking care of myself, I will be better able to assist others. It is my hope that the health ministry advisory board could be a group of people who help others achieve whole person health, whether it be visiting with those who cannot make it out of their homes, or driving someone to a doctor’s appointment. We have many elderly people within our parish and community who need these resources. I do believe this board has already begun addressing these situations while also maintaining privacy for those we help. I’m excited for the future of this board and I hope to be more active in this ministry now that I am not teaching full time.” Liz has also been active in planning and implementing the annual health ministry Thanksgiving Dinner, and she has assisted with several of the health ministry’s educational events within the community. Please visit with Liz about any ideas you have for whole-person wellness in our congregations or our communities!

     Laurita Burbach, member of Bethlehem Lutheran Church, states that she is a convert to the Lutheran faith. She shares, “I came from a background of rigid religiosity. I love the flexibility of being a member of ELCA.” She began serving on the Prairie Faith Health Ministry Advisory Board from the health ministry’s very beginning in April 2015. She stated that she initially had interest in helping with the health ministry because she saw an opportunity to do something for the broader community. She states, “I have a deep belief that healing is on multiple levels: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. My belief is that you cannot heal one with positively healing the others.” When asked about her personal wellness goals, she describes that healing has been a process in her adult life-sometimes she has struggled, and sometimes it has seemed easy. When asked to describe her vision for the health ministry, Laurita shared this, “Recently I have come to think and desire for our parish nurse program to expand. I value the education, services, socialization and other opportunities the program has provided. I am aware that we are reaching more than our Lutheran family. I would love to see our board expand to include representatives from all faiths. I have come to this vision as a result of a lack of resources to continue as we were doing when the program started.” Laurita has also presented at two health ministry community educational events about creative ways to manage stress, and she has helped with other health ministry events and worship services. Laurita would be very willing to visit with anyone within Prairie Faith or the larger community about the health ministry, especially about mental health ideas—feel free to email her or call her!

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