May is Stroke Awareness Month. A stroke happens when blood flow to the brain is blocked or disrupted. Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke, resulting in stroke- related death every 3.5 minutes. It is the leading cause of disability in adults. These statistics are staggering, but we can do something about it. First, know and reduce your risk factors.
- Manage your BLOOD PRESSURE– this is the most important risk factor. Work with your provider to keep your blood pressure in a healthy range.
- QUIT SMOKING– smoking damages your blood vessels, decreases oxygen in your blood and makes it more likely to clot.
- Manage DIABETES and HEART DISEASE– follow your provider’s recommendations to maintain healthy blood glucose levels and consider blood thinners.
- Lower your CHOLESTEROL– this helps keep your blood vessels healthy.
- EXERCISE and EAT HEALTHY– physical inactivity and obesity contribute to high bloodpressure, diabetes, and heart disease.
Next, if you suspect stroke- BE FAST to recognize and respond to the signs quickly. BE FAST is a way to remember the most common signs of stroke:
B= Balance (watch for sudden loss of balance)
E= Eyes (check for sudden vision loss/double vision) F= Face (look for an uneven smile/facial droop)
A= Arm (check if one arm is suddenly weak)
S= Speech (listen for newly slurred speech)
T= Time (call 9-1-1 right away)
If you or someone you know shows these signs, don’t wait to get help. Don’t go to sleep and see if it’s better in the morning! Time is Brain and treatment needs to be started right away to save brain cells and limit the effects of stroke.
Woodlawn Hospital is a certified Stroke Ready Center and is prepared with a team of highly trained professionals and equipment to rapidly assess and treat patients suspected of having a stroke. It’s one way we are earning the right to care for you, your family, and our community.
References: cdc.gov/stroke and ninds.nih.gov