May is American Stroke Month and the American Stroke Association wants you to know that you don’t need superpowers to be a hero when it comes to stroke, you just need to pay attention to the risk factors and know the warning signs.
“Stroke is largely preventable and treatable,” said Joonun “Chris” Choi, M.D., and American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Board President, “The best way to beat a stroke is to never have one – about 80 percent of strokes are preventable. The second best way to beat a stroke is to identify one immediately when it occurs and call 9-1-1.”
Jean Faugno of Stamford was walking to the store and started slurring her words.
“I didn’t think anything of it—it only lasted a minute. But it happened again that evening,” she said of her June 2014 stroke, “The next day, I woke up and just didn’t feel well. I knew something was wrong. At the emergency room, I went through a battery of tests and they told me that I’d had a stroke. I was shocked.”
She had always been very active, exercised regularly and was never overweight. She didn’t have high cholesterol. The ultimate cause of her stroke was cardiac-related, but the symptoms of a stroke motivated her to get help fast.
“Research and scientific advances helped me survive,” she said, “But getting help quickly saved my life.”
The American Stroke Association’s Together to End Stroke initiative, nationally sponsored by Medtronic, shares five things everyone should know to be a Stroke Hero to stop the nation’s number five killer in its tracks.
- Anyone Can Have a Stroke (Even Superheroes)
Some stroke patients don’t “look the part” and they may not have traditional stroke risk factors like high blood pressure. Stroke is more common in older people, but young adults, teens, children, babies and even the unborn can be victims.
- High Blood Pressure is Public Enemy #1 for Stroke
About 80 million Americans have high blood pressure, yet about half with the condition do not have it under control. Three out of four people who have a first stroke report blood pressure higher than 140/90 mm Hg, making blood pressure the most important controllable risk factor for stroke.
- Stroke Targets by Color
While stroke is a leading cause of death for all Americans, African-Americans are at an increased risk. Blacks are twice as likely to have a stroke compared to whites, and are more likely to have a stroke at a younger age.
- Stroke is Largely Treatable
Clot-busting drugs and medical devices like stent retrievers have made stroke largely treatable, but most patients need to get to an appropriate hospital to be evaluated and treated within 3 to 4.5 hours of the first symptom. With nearly 2 million brain cells dying every minute during a stroke, there’s no time to phone a friend, take a nap, or wait until Uber stops surging. Calling 911 is the best call for stroke.
- Friends Usually Save Friends from Stroke
You’ve heard the saying, “fast friends”. If you’re having a stroke, that’s exactly who you need nearby. Two out of three times, it’s a bystander making the decision to call 911 or seek treatment on behalf of someone suffering a stroke. To remember the most common stroke warning signs and what action to take, learn F.A.S.T. If you see F-Face drooping, A-Arm weakness or S-Speech difficulty, it’s T-Time to call 9-1-1 if any of these symptoms exist.
For more information about stroke and to learn how to be a Stroke Hero for American Stroke Month, visit www.StrokeAssociation.org.
The American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association, launched Together to End Stroke with inaugural sponsor Covidien, now Medtronic, in 2013 to elevate the message that stroke is largely preventable, treatable and beatable.
“Like the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, Medtronic is committed to improving the lives of stroke patients,” said Brett Wall, President, Brain Therapies, Medtronic. “Over the past three years, Together to End Stroke has helped boost stroke warning sign recognition, which leads to more people getting to treatment in time. We are happy to continue our support of this important initiative to raise awareness of stroke.”
Our mission is to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. For nearly 100 years, we’ve been fighting heart disease and stroke, striving to save and improve lives. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer worldwide, and stroke ranks second globally. Even when those conditions don’t result in death, they cause disability and diminish quality of life. We want to see a world free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.