May is American Stroke Month. As strokes become more and more common, it’s important to know the signs, symptoms and risk factors, so that we can both lower our chances of having a stroke, and also take action when need be.
Strokes occurs when blood flow to the brain is cut off. With an absence of blood flow, the brain does not receive the necessary oxygen and nutrients it needs, ultimately causing its cells to die. While strokes are serious and potentially life-threatening, early identification and treatment will lead to faster and more successful recovery.
Signs of a stroke
There are many ways in which a stroke will affect an individual, but since you need treatment as soon as possible, you need to identify the symptoms FAST.
F ACE : Can they smile? Is their face drooping?
A RM : Can they raise both arms? Are they experiencing weakness or numbness?
S PEECH : Is their speech slurred or strange? Are they having difficulty understanding?
T IME : If you notice any of these signs, call 911 immediately!
Similarly, the best way to prevent a stroke is by monitoring and minimizing the risk factors you can control.
- High blood pressure
- Atrial fibrillation (AFib)
- Physical inactivity
While stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, they are not inevitable. With an understanding of what they are, why they happen, and how to spot them, strokes will cease to be a fatal disease.