Stroke Awareness Month

May 16, 2016

Did you know that one in three Americans cannot recall the warning signs of a stroke? National Stroke Awareness Month is about providing useful information regarding strokes and what to do if you think someone might be having one. 

To better understand a stroke, let’s review a few key facts.

  • A stroke occurs when a vessel in the brain becomes blocked by a clot (Ischemic) or actually ruptures (Hemorrhagic). 87% of strokes are ischemic.
  • There are over 7 million stroke survivors in the US.
  • African Americans are twice as likely to have a stroke than Caucasians.
  • Strokes are the No. 5 cause of death in men and No. 3 cause of death in women.
  • If a stroke is caught and addressed in the early stages treatment is available to minimize effects.
  • Stroke risk increases with age but strokes can and do happen at ANY stage of life.
  • Approximately 77% of people that have a stroke suffer from high-blood pressure.
  • 80% of strokes are preventable by managing risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking and lack of physical activity.

If a stroke is caught within 3 hours of onset (in some cases up to 4.5 hours), an early treatment called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) can be administered. Other treatments include endovascular procedures and alternative surgery, but tPA is the “Gold Standard”. With tPA there is an increased likelihood of survival and recovery with minimal long-term effects. However, a significant number of stroke victims don’t arrive at the hospital in time for tPA treatment. This is why awareness is so important. It could save your life.

16-PEP-379_FAST_ALL.pngWarning Signs of a Stroke

F.A.S.T is a campaign started by the American Stroke Association to help spread awareness of the sudden signs of stroke. If you recognize ANY of these symptoms it’s time to CALL 9-1-1 immediately.

F – Face Drooping

Is one side of the face numb or drooping? Ask the person to smile. Is their smile uneven?

A – Arm Weakness

Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S – Speech Difficulty

Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “the sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?

T – Time to call 9-1-1 

If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you will know when the first symptoms appeared. This will be valuable information for the doctors.

 

For more information about stroke warning signs and symptoms, please click HERE. Help spread awareness by sharing this story or others like it. It might just be the key information that saves someone’s life.