May is National Stroke Awareness Month

May is National Stroke Awareness MonthA stroke, or “brain attack,” occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery or a blood vessel breaks, interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain.  When either of these things happen, brain cells begin to die and brain damage occurs. The more you know about stroke, the greater your risks are of preventing one from happening to you.

There are some myths about stroke that can end up having severe consequences.  Some people believe that strokes are unpreventable.  Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in America and a leading cause of adult disability, but they are up to 80 percent preventable. 

Here’s what you should do to avoid becoming a victim:

  • Know your blood pressure.
  • Identify if you have an abnormal heartbeat.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Control alcohol use.
  • Know your cholesterol levels.
  • Control your diabetes.
  • Exercise and eat healthy.
  • Treat any circulation problems.

Another myth is that stroke cannot be treated.  Stroke requires emergency care.  The sooner you can identify the warning signs that you or someone else may be having a stroke, and the quicker you can get emergency care, the greater the chances of survival.

Here are the warning signs:

F – Is one of side of the face drooping?
A – When raising both arms, does one arm drift downward?
S – Is speech slurred or strange?
T – Time is of the essence.  If you or someone else is experiencing these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Stroke can affect anyone at any time. May is National Stroke Awareness Month. Know your risk factors, the symptoms and act fast! For more information visit the Stroke Center at St. Alexius.