National Stroke Awareness Month

May is National Stroke Awareness Month.  Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke and every four minutes someone dies from a stroke.  This makes strokes the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.

A stroke occurs when a blockage stops the flow of blood to the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts.  Complications from strokes include paralysis or weakness on one side of the body; problems understanding speech or speaking; numbness or a strange sensation; problems with thinking, attention and memory; difficulty controlling emotions; pain in hands and feet; depression.

Nearly 25% of strokes occur in people younger than 65 years of age.  Lowering your risk for stroke requires lifestyle changes.  Keep your blood pressure under control; manage your cholesterol; stop smoking; exercise; eat a healthy low sodium diet, maintain a healthy weight, control your diabetes; and limit alcohol intake.

Every second counts when you are having a stroke.  Early treatment lowers the risk of death and disability.  Watch for the following signs:

  • Numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding
  • Trouble seeing
  • Trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of coordination
  • Severe headache.

If you or someone you are with experiences any of these symptoms call 9-1-1 immediately!