May is National Stroke Awareness Month, a leading cause of death and serious long-term disability in the United States. Time is crucial in the treatment of stroke, as on average, every 40 seconds someone in the United States has a stroke and roughly every four minutes someone dies from a stroke. The earlier a stroke is recognized and the patient receives medical attention, the greater chance of recovery. Strokes occur when a blood vessel carrying oxygen and vital nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or ruptures. When this occurs, part of the brain is deprived of blood and oxygen, destroying millions of valuable nerve cells within minutes.
If you suspect a stroke, remember the word FAST – F-A-S-T.
F is for face – is your face drooping?
A is for arms – can you lift both arms?
S is for speech – are you slurring your words
T is for time, call 9-1-1 immediately because with stroke, time is brain.
The primary stroke symptoms include:
Sudden numbness or weakness on one side of the face or facial drooping
Sudden numbness or weakness in an arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech
Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
Sudden severe headache with no known cause
Stroke is a leading cause of death and serious, long-term disability in the United States. According to the American Stroke Association, approximately 795,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke each year, and 87 percent of these are ischemic strokes. An acute ischemic stroke occurs when an obstruction, such as a blood clot, blocks blood flow to the brain. The obstruction deprives the brain of blood and oxygen, destroying valuable nerve cells in the affected area within minutes. The resulting damage can lead to significant disability including paralysis, speech problems and emotional difficulties. Treatment may be available if you get to the emergency room immediately upon recognition of stroke symptoms. Leading a healthy lifestyle, including lowering risk factors like high blood pressure and weight, can also help reduce your stroke risk.