Know the Warning Signs of Stroke

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Stroke is the leading cause of disability among American adults and the fourth leading cause of death.

Every 40 seconds someone has a stroke and every 3 minutes someone dies of a stroke. May is National Stroke Awareness Month - an opportunity to learn how to reduce your risk of stroke and to recognize when someone around you may be having a stroke.

There are some stroke risk factors that we cannot control:

  • Age (risk of stroke doubles with each decade after age 55)
  • Hereditary (risk of stroke increases if a parent, grandparent or sibling had a stroke)
  • Race (African Americans have increased risk of stroke compared to Caucasians)
  • Gender (stroke is more common in men than women)
  • Prior stroke or heart attack (risk is much greater if you have a history of previous stroke or heart attack).

However, there are many risk factors for stroke that you can change - and addressing them can significantly reduce your risk of having a stroke. These include:

  • Blood pressure control
  • Quit smoking
  • Lower your cholesterol
  • Modify your diet, lower salt intake and increase fiber intake.
  • Exercise and stay active (brisk walking, jogging or running) for at least 30 minutes on most days

It is very important to recognize stroke symptoms early-- the American Heart Association / American Stroke Association have developed an easy way to help the general public remember the warning signs of stroke - F.A.S.T.:

Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop or is numb?

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

Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is there speech slurred or strange?

Time: If you observe any of these signs, call 911 immediately.

F.A.S.T. is an easy way to recognize the sudden signs and symptoms of a stroke. When you can identify these signs, you can act quickly to call 9-1-1 for help. This is very important because most strokes need early treatment, so the sooner a person gets to the hospital; the sooner they can be treated. Since in stroke TIME IS BRAIN this can make a difference between recovery or no recovery.

To learn more about stroke and stroke care, visit our website.

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