May is Stroke Awareness Month and we want you to know the facts! You may have seen this before, but it's important to be
reminded of the cause, signs and actions to take when it comes to strokes – you could save a life.
- Stroke is an emergency and a brain attack, which cuts off vital blood flow and oxygen to the brain.
- In the United States, stroke is the fourth leading cause of death, killing over 133,000 people each year, and a leading cause of serious, long-term adult disability.
- There are an estimated 7,000,000 stroke survivors in the U.S. over age 20.
- Approximately 795,000 strokes will occur this year, one every 40 seconds, and taking a life approximately every four minutes.
- Stroke can happen to anyone at any time, regardless of race, sex or age.
- From 1998 to 2008, the annual stroke death rate fell approximately 35 percent, and the actual number of deaths fell by 19 percent.
- Approximately 55,000 more women than men have a stroke each year.
Reducing Stroke Risk
Many risk factors are beyond your control, including being over age 55, being a male, being African-American, having diabetes,
and having a family history of stroke. If you have one or more of these risk factors, it is even more important that you learn about
the lifestyle and medical changes you can make to prevent a stroke.
Stroke Prevention Guidelines
1. Know your blood pressure (hypertension)
High blood pressure is a major stroke risk factor if left untreated.
2. Identify atrial fibrillation (Afib)
Afib is an abnormal heartbeat that can increase stroke risk by 500 percent.
3. Stop smoking
Smoking doubles the risk of stroke. Stopping smoking will immediately begin to decrease risk.
4. Control alcohol use
Alcohol use has been linked to stroke in many studies.
5. Know cholesterol levels
Cholesterol is a fatty substance in blood that is made by the body. High cholesterol levels can clog arteries and cause a stroke.
6. Control diabetes
Many people with diabetes have health problems that are also stroke risk factors.
7. Manage exercise and diet
Excess weight strains the circulatory system. Exercise and diet will help.
8. Treat circulation problems
Fatty deposits can block arteries carrying blood to the brain and lead to a stroke.
9. Act FAST at the first warning sign of stroke
F = FACE Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A = ARMS Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S= SPEECH Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Does the speech sound slurred or strange?
T = TIME If you observe any of these signs (independently or together), call 9-1-1 immediately.
If you recognize stroke symptoms in you or a family member, seek immediate medical attention. The Madison County Memorial
Hospital Emergency Department is here for you 24/7.
Our thanks to The National Stroke Association for providing this information.