GMC Blog

Stroke Awareness Month

May Is National Stroke Awareness Month

May is National Stoke Awareness Month in the United States of America. Close to 800,000 strokes occur in the United States alone every year. Because of the high rate of strokes in this country, Stroke Awareness Month was designed to provide Americans with information and awareness about this important health-related issue.

Did you know that:

  • Every 40 seconds, someone suffers a stroke.
  • Stroke is the most common cause of disability in the United States.
  • Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States.
  • One in six people will sustain a stroke in their lifetimes.

Something else you should know? No one is immune from stroke risk. Anyone—no matter what age or gender—can suffer a life-threatening stroke. That’s why it is so important for everyone to be aware of the signs of a stroke, and to know what to do if they see someone who may be suffering a stroke, or know what to do if they believe they have suffered a stroke.

Just Remember to Act F.A.S.T.

In spite of the fact that stroke is such a prevalent health concern in the United States, many people do not realize the danger or know how to protect themselves or their loved ones. They don’t know the warning signs or what to do. That’s why the American Heart Association / American Stroke Association works hard help promote education and awareness concerning strokes during the month of May. The best acronym to remember when it comes to strokes is “F.A.S.T.”

These are the F.A.S.T. warning signs that every American should know and be able to act upon:

  • F – Face drooping
  • A – Arm weakness
  • S – Speech difficulty
  • T – Time to call 911

According to the findings of one survey, only two in three Americans surveyed could list all of the warning signs associated with F.A.S.T. It’s important to read, remember, and review these warning signs. Become a “stroke hero” by knowing what a stroke looks like and what to do if you see stroke symptoms. Remember: The difference between waiting to get help and calling 911 immediately could also mean the difference between life and death or serious injury.

The sooner a stroke victim receives medical attention, the better his or her chance of surviving the stroke and achieving a full recovery.

What Is a Stroke?

A stroke is an attack of the brain, when an obstruction halts the blood flow to the brain or when a blood vessel bursts in or near the brain. In 2008, over 133,000 people in America died from strokes. That equals one every four minutes. Remember, even though most people who sustain strokes are elderly, strokes are still a very real and present threat to people of all ages, which is why everyone should take time to educate himself / herself about this danger and what to do if they witness or experience a stroke. Almost 25% of all strokes occur in men and women who are under the age of 65.

What Can Strokes Cause?

Strokes can cause multiple serious repercussions, including:

  • Partial paralysis, on the left or right side of the body
  • Partial weakness, on the left or right side of the body
  • Cognitive difficulties including memory problems, loss of critical thinking ability, loss of awareness, learning loss, attention deficiencies, and impaired judgment
  • Emotional complications including depression, difficult controlling emotions, and difficulty expressing emotion
  • Pain in the extremities; hands and feet
  • Feelings of numbness
  • Speech difficulties

Stroke Prevention 101

There are many different factors that can impact an individual’s risk of having a stroke, including gender, race, and family medical history. Find out if anyone in your family has suffered a stroke and talk to your doctor to find out about your own personal risk factors. Whatever your risk for a suffering stroke may be, there are actions you can take to lower your risk.

These are the top steps you can take to lower your risk of stroke:

  • Take aspirin. Talk to your doctor about taking aspirin to help mitigate your stroke risk.
  • Quit smoking. Smoking can actually significantly increase your risk of a stroke. In fact, 20% of strokes are contributed to by smoking, as cigarette smoke can lead to thickened blood that is more susceptible to clotting.
  • Control your blood pressure. Make sure that your blood pressure is at a proper level. Over 50% of fatal stroke victims worldwide suffered strokes caused by elevated blood pressure.
  • Manage your cholesterol. When was the last time you had your cholesterol checked? Check your cholesterol often and ask your doctor about medications or lifestyle changes you can take to help manage your cholesterol.
  • Make good lifestyle choices. Exercising, eating a nutritious low-sodium diet, drinking alcohol only moderately, and watching your weight, are all healthy lifestyle choices that can help lower your risk of stroke.

Our team at Garfield Medical Center is proud to participate in National Stroke Awareness Month. We want our community to be prepared, aware, and safe, so they know what to do in the event of a stroke. For more information and advice about stroke prevention, speak with your doctor.

This article contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. The information is not intended to replace the advice or diagnosis of a physician.

If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.

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