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Increase Your Stroke IQ During Stroke Month

Increase Your Stroke IQ During Stroke Month

Know the facts about this medical emergency

It’s more important than ever to know the signs and symptoms of stroke and act F.A.S.T. to limit its impact. The New England Journal of Medicine recently published a study showing a 39% drop in stroke-related evaluations at hospitals across the U.S. during the early COVID-19 pandemic between March 26 and April 8. Stroke is a medical emergency. If you or a loved one experience symptoms of a stroke, don’t wait — call 911 immediately. Because time lost is brain lost.

May is Stroke Month, and it’s a great time to review the facts about this often debilitating disease so that you and your loved ones know how to react should a stroke occur. What many don't know is that stroke is often preventable and that F.A.S.T. action saves lives... and brain. Below is actionable information that will improve your “stroke IQ”:

Do you know that close to 795,000 Americans experience stroke each year? In fact, a stroke occurs every 40 seconds!Stroke is the 5th leading cause of death in the U.S. and the #1 cause of serious long-term disability. Over 600 new or recurrent stroke patients are admitted to the Advance Primary Stroke Center at Winchester Medical Center every year.

Do you know stroke’s symptoms and what quick action you must take if you suspect a stroke? The acronym F.A.S.T. is an easy way to remember these stroke warning signs:

  • FACE DROOPING—One side of the person’s face droops or sags when he or she smiles
  • ARM WEAKNESS—If the person raises both arms, one drifts downward
  • SPEECH DIFFICULTY—The person slurs words when he or she speaks
  • TIME TO CALL 911—Call immediately if the person is showing any of these signs

Time is the single most important part of F.A.S.T. If you witness a friend or loved one exhibiting any of the symptoms above, you should call 911 immediately. In the case of stroke treatment, every minute counts, so the faster a patient gets transported to the emergency room following the onset of stroke symptoms, the better the chances for survival and a positive long-term outcome. Effective intervention may not be possible if people wait to call 911 and treatment is delayed. Quick response and rapid treatment are key factors in limiting long-term disability from stroke.

Do you know that 80% of strokes are preventable?

There are 10 controllable risk factors that account for 90% of strokes, and you can take simple steps that impact your stroke risk. Hypertension (high blood pressure), physical inactivity, lipids (blood fats), poor diet, obesity, smoking, poor heart health, excessive alcohol use, stress and diabetes are all “lifestyle risk factors” that can be modified; talk with your care provider about how you can reduce your risk of stroke.

Do you know that anyone can have a stroke?

Stroke is the third leading cause of death for women, and every year, women have more strokes and stroke-related deaths than men. Even young people can have a stroke. Many of the lifestyle risk factors for stroke that exist for older adults are also present for younger people, so developing healthy habits is important for people of all ages!

Visit valleyhealthlink.com/stroke for more information on risk factors, diagnosis and treatment for stroke.