Every 45 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke. Yet, despite being the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of adult disability in this country, fewer than one in five Americans can recognize a symptom of a stroke. While stroke can happen to anyone regardless of age, gender or race, women are uniquely affected. As a result, during National Stroke Awareness Month in May, National Stroke Association is encouraging everyone to “Save a Life” by Acting F.A.S.T. when it comes to stroke.
Consider these facts about stroke:
- Four out of five American families will be touched by stroke.
- For every minute that brain cells are deprived of oxygen during stroke, the likelihood of brain damage increases.
- Treatment for stroke can be more effective if given early on.
- TIA (transient ischemic attack) is a risk factor of stroke and a call to action to prevent a stroke.
The good news is that 80 percent of all strokes can be prevented. With proper attention to stroke risk factors, the impact can be greatly reduced. Common risk factors for stroke include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, pregnancy, weight and physical activity.
The first step to take control of your health is to ask your doctor about stroke. It’s never too late to lower your risk factors by making necessary lifestyle changes such as not smoking (women who smoke and take birth control pills are four times more likely to have a stroke), drinking alcohol in moderation, exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet low in salt and fat. But most importantly recognizing the signs and symptoms of a stroke, and acting F.A.S.T. to seek lifesaving treatment can save lives.
F = FACE Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A = ARM Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S = SPEECH Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Does the speech sound slurred or strange?
T = TIME If you observe any of these signs, then it’s time to call 9-1-1.
Time is critical, so it is important to know stroke symptoms in order to seek immediate medical treatment that can save lives and reduce disabilities. Forrest General Hospital has a certified Stroke Care Center that specializes in the treatment of stroke.
The National Stroke Association is committed to reducing the incidence and impact of stroke through increasing awareness and educating Americans about stroke. Understanding strokes or brain attacks is important for the health and well-being of everyone. For more information on stroke and stroke prevention, call National Stroke Association at 1-800-STROKES, visit www.strokeaware.org or click the SSAS button to the left.
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415 S. 28th Avenue
Hattiesburg, MS 39401