We hear a lot about cancer in the media. We hear a lot about heart disease too. We do not typically hear a lot about Stroke, and yet it is the No. 4 cause of death in this country, killing more than 129,000 people each year. An estimated 6.8 million Americans age 20 and older have had a stroke.
Why do we need to pay more attention to stroke awareness? Because most people do not realist just how common stoke is, nor do they realize that it can happen to anyone. In the time it takes you to read this post, two people in this country will have a stroke. And yet it is the No. 1 preventable cause of disability, yet about one third of victims do not recall having warning signs.
May is American Stroke Month, and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association wants to raise awareness about F.A.S.T—an acronym used to recognize a stroke and what to do in a stroke emergency.
F for Face drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile or try to smile in the mirror.
A for Arm weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Does one arm drift downward?
S for Speech difficulty: Is speech slurred? Are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand?
T for Time to call 9-1-1: If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.
The faster a stroke victim receives treatment, the greater chance of getting the timely treatment necessary for the best chances at recovery. If you think it’s a stroke, you don’t have a minute to waste. Every minute you delay treatment could mean a longer road to recovery. You can also keep the warning signs at your fingertips by downloading the F.A.S.T. app at: www.StrokeAssociation.org/warningsigns.
Anyone can have a stroke, regardless of age, race or gender. There are, however, several controllable risk factors for stroke which can potentially reduce a person’s likelihood or having a stroke or the potential severity of the stroke. Those include: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, tobacco use, alcohol use, physical inactivity, obesity, atrial fibrillation, atherosclerosis, and circulation issues.
Learn more about the warning signs, symptoms, risk factors and treatments for stroke at: www.StrokeAssociation.org/.