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May is American Stroke Awareness Month and in consideration that five out of six people are unable to name the three signs signifying a stroke, it is a perfect time to go over the basics. Approximately 133,000 people die annually from strokes and is the leading cause of long-term adult disability.

It is important to understand the basic approach and learn the F.A.S.T. method to spark a medical alert. This from The National Stroke Association’s Stroke Awareness Campaign and there is solid evidence that it saves lives with some knowledge of symptoms of a 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.

Stroke Prevention

Not only should we be made aware of the symptoms and understand immediate response but there are some preventative measures that can be followed throughout your life. Choosing healthy foods, eating fresh fruits and vegetables helps. Limiting salt intake and consuming foods low in saturated fats, making sure cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure is under control are just a few ways to keep your body healthy.

If you are having a problem with being overweight, controlling that is another factor in prevention. Smoking and alcohol use increases risk of a stroke. Working with your healthcare team by reviewing and checking your risk factors for a stroke is essential during a wellness checkup.

Is Age a Factor?

No age is exempt from stroke. There are many patient stories that provide insight into the risk and recovery. After a stroke. We tend to not realize that some issues we put off or don’t address can change our lives forever. These patient stories are meant to encourage all of us to pay attention to our health before its too late. There are many faces of stroke victims, with varied ages, predisposed conditions all of many different ethnic backgrounds. They all speak to the same issues of undiagnosed problems going way back in family history. They provide us a path to awareness and give all of us the power of prevention.

Minutes Count

So now we are aware that acting quickly is the deciding factor in recovery. An immediate call to 911 is essential to reducing death and improving quality of care. Our healthcare system is able to treat strokes effectively if the patient gets to the hospital in time.

I have attached many stroke awareness links for awareness and support for stroke victims. GoldLeaf Home Health Care is in your corner too, with help for patients to recover quickly. Many people need long term care while others need a period of time for healing, struggling back to regain their health after a stroke.