October 29 is World Stroke Day. The American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association, a global force for healthier lives for all – is dedicated to saving people from stroke. Stroke is the No. 2 cause of death in the world and a leading cause of serious disability.
Strokes can happen to anyone at any age. In fact, globally one in four adults over the age of 25 will have a stroke in their lifetime. Each year, approximately 800,000 people in the U.S. suffer a stroke.
“I was 25 years old when I had the worst headache I have ever felt, and it just kept getting worse. I tried to ease the pain by taking ibuprofen and putting ice on my head. The pain caused me to throw up and as I was walking to my room to lay down, I passed out and my husband called for help,” explained Lisa Fish, a New Hampshire stroke survivor.
Recognizing the stroke warning signs and calling 911 immediately may make the difference between a strong recovery or long-term disability, survival, or death. Most adults in the U.S. do not know the F.A.S.T warning signs of a stroke, and that stroke is largely treatable if you call 911 as soon as you recognize the symptoms.
“Our power is in knowledge and how we apply that knowledge starting today to defeat stroke. Can prevention be a super-power? Without a doubt. Can acting F.A.S.T. change a life? Absolutely. Let’s defeat stroke by acting now,” said Dr. Timothy Lukovits, a neurologist at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center who specializes in the field of stroke.
Learn how to spot a stroke F.A.S.T.:
- Face Dropping – Does one side off the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?
- Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.”
- Time to call 9-1-1 – If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital immediately. Check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared.
Each year, approximately 800,000 people in the U.S. suffer a stroke. Recognizing the stroke warning signs and calling 911 immediately may make the difference between a strong recovery or long-term disability, survival or death.
According to the Association, a large majority of strokes can be prevented through education and lifestyle changes such as moving more, eating smart and managing your blood pressure. Some people have a higher stroke risk, like stroke survivors and people who have atrial fibrillation (AFib), but a stroke can happen to anyone at any point in their lifetime. Most strokes caused by AFib could have been prevented with effective treatment, but only about half of AFib patients receive proper therapy.
Knowing your numbers such as total cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and body mass index can help reduce your risk, as well as knowing your family history of heart disease and stroke. The Association encourages you to learn these numbers and your family history, and then talk to your doctor about lowering your personal risk for stroke. In addition to checking your blood pressure and taking medication as prescribed, quit smoking and vaping, eat better, get healthy sleep and be active—these things not only help you avoid health problems issues later, but they also set a great example for those around you.
“The most important message is to have faith because it will get better. It was a very daunting experience, but there are better days to come,” said Fish.
For more information, visit www.Stroke.org/WorldStrokeDay.
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