May is American Stroke Month
May is the American Stroke month, the combined efforts of the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association to increase awareness of the disease and educate the public on stroke. Stroke is currently the 4th leading cause of death and remains the leading cause of disability in the United States.
A stroke is defined as a blockage, or rupture of a blood vessel in the brain. Ischemic stroke occurs when the vessel is blocked, while hemorrhagic stroke occurs as the result of a ruptured blood vessel. As much as 80% of all strokes are considered preventable, meaning lifestyle changes and medication can play an important role in reducing your personal risk for stroke.
The American Heart/American Stroke Association encourages you to follow “Life’s Simple 7”, seven ways to reduce your risk of stroke. They include the following:
1. Manage your blood pressure
2. Eat better
3. Get physically active
4. Lose excess weight
5. Lower cholesterol
6. Reduce blood sugar
7. Stop smoking
The signs and symptoms of a possible stroke are the following, outlined with the acronym FAST:
· Facial droop
· Arm weakness
· Speech difficulty
· Time to call 911
Stroke patients have a 3 hour window, from time of onset of symptoms, to receive the t-PA (“clot buster” treatment. In addition, early emergency care will lower the overall risk of stroke related complications.
To learn more about stroke, as well as heart disease and more, check out The American Stroke Association or your local chapter of the American Heart Association. In addition, they are on Facebook ( Facebook.com/AmericanStroke).