Do you know the signs of a stroke? How about what steps you should take if you recognize someone is having a stroke?
May is National Stroke Awareness Month, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urge to people to learn how to spot and get help for someone experiencing a stroke.
Strokes kill about 140,000 Americans every year and is not only a leading cause of death in the country but cause more serious long-term disabilities than any other disease, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Nearly three-quarters of all strokes – which occur when a clot blocks the blood supply to the brain, or there’s a tear in a blood vessel – occur in people over the age of 65. The risk of a stroke more than doubles each decade after the age of 55.
Here’s how to recognize the signs of a stroke, using the acronym FAST, which stands for face, arms, speech and time. If you believe someone is having a stroke, ask the person to smile. Look at their face – does one side of the face droop? Ask them to lift their arms, and take note if one droops downward. Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, and if their speech is slurred, they may be having a stroke. Then it is time to call 911 and get help.
A CDC survey showed most respondents– 93% – indicated they recognized sudden numbness on one side as a sign of a stroke. Only 38% were aware of all the symptoms and knew to call 911 when someone was having a stroke.
Calling for emergency help as soon as a stroke is indicated is also a factor in recovery. According to the CDC, patients who arrive at the emergency room within three hours of their first symptoms often have less disability three months after the stroke than those who received delayed care.
For more information on strokes and National Stroke Awareness Month, go to www.ninds.nih.gov/News-Events/Events-Proceedings/Events/Stroke-Awareness-Month.