May is American Stroke Awareness month. We wanted to take the opportunity to spread awareness because not only do strokes impact nearly 800,000 people a year, it’s the #5 cause of death in America. Strokes are a leading cause of disability. Also, strokes affect Black and African-Americans more than any other group. With awareness, we can prevent more strokes and recognize the signs and symptoms of a stroke.
Signs of a Stroke
The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association recommend you “Think F.A.S.T.” to recognize the signs.. They don’t mean to be quick, though if you think you or someone you love may be having a stroke, you do want to react quickly. Instead, “F.A.S.T.” is an easy acronym to remember what to look for.
- Face Drooping – During a stroke, facial paralysis and drooping is common. Try smiling (or having the person smile), and if it’s not possible or the smile is crooked, that’s a warning sign.
- Arm Weakness – Similar to facial muscles, arm weakness, numbness, and paralysis can occur. If raising one or both arms is difficult, that could be a red flag.
- Speech Difficulty – During a stroke, slurred speech or confusion occurs.
- Time to Call 911 – Any of these symptoms is a major sign of a stroke, so if you or a loved one experience any of them, call 911 immediately. Even if the symptoms go away, still seek medical attention!
- Sudden, severe headache
- Blurred or double vision
- Difficulty understanding speech
- Loss of coordination, dizziness, or difficulty walking
We want to keep in mind that if you aren’t sure, seek medical help. Strokes are serious, and it is so important to not ignore these symptoms. Every minute counts, and the earlier you get treatment, the higher the survival rate. While May is for stroke awareness, keep this information with you all year!