During American Stroke Month in May, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and Catholic Medical Center are encouraging everyone to join together to end one of the leading causes of death in New Hampshire and the leading cause of disability in the United States.
Despite claiming more than 133,000 lives annually in the United States and being a leading cause of serious, long-term disability, stroke is largely preventable and treatable.
“As many as 80 percent of strokes are preventable. Most people who have a stroke have high blood pressure, so it’s incredibly important to know your numbers and keep them under control to help prevent a stroke,” said Dr. William Goodman, Chief Medical Officer at Catholic Medical Center. “This is a great time to get your blood pressure checked. As part of our Life is Why sponsorship in New Hampshire, we are encouraging Granite Staters to make small, simple changes, like exercising regularly and limiting sodium intake, both which can help lower blood pressure.”
Normal blood pressure is below 120/80 mm Hg. Nearly one in six American adults with high blood pressure don’t know it, according to AHA/ASA.
Awareness is also key when it comes to stroke treatment. For many strokes, the right treatment right away can save lives and improve recovery so it’s important to get help immediately. The American Stroke Association’s Together to End Stroke™ initiative, sponsored nationally by Medtronic, teaches the acronym F.A.S.T. to help people to recognize the most common stroke warning signs and what to do if one occurs:
- F – Face Drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
- A – Arm Weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- S – Speech Difficulty: Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence like, “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
- T – Time to call 911: If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 911 and get them to the hospital immediately.
For more information about stroke or American Stroke Month activities, follow #StrokeMonth on social media, visit StrokeAssociation.org/strokemonth.