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May is National Stroke Awareness Month

Every year, the National Stroke Association leads the stroke community in providing ways to learn about stroke, shareable sources, ad opportunities to participate. When it comes to stroke, every second counts! Nearly 2 million brain cells die each minute a stroke remains untreated.

Rapid access to medical treatment oftentimes make the difference between full recovery and permanent disability. The aim of National Stroke Awareness Month is to make Americans aware that they may be able to 'Save A Life' of a person experiencing a stroke.


By The Numbers

As you age, a healthy body is the key to a healthy brain and sharp mind. Stay healthy and active to help reduce your risk of stroke, heart disease, memory loss, and difficulty with thinking and learning.

  • Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States falls into a stroke.
  • 80% of brain diseases can be linked to cardiovascular disease.
  • 99% of adults in the U.S. have at least one of seven cardiovascular health risks.
  • 3 out of 5 Americans will develop a brain disease in their lifetime.
  • Stroke ranks 5th in the causes of death in the U.S.


F.A.S.T. Warning Signs

Use the letters in F.A.S.T to spot a Stroke:

F = Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person's smile uneven?

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?

T = Time to call 911


Other stroke symptoms

Watch for Sudden:

  • NUMBNESS or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • CONFUSION, trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • TROUBLE SEEING in one or both eyes
  • TROUBLE WALKING, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • SEVERE HEADACHE with no known cause


Are the symptoms of stroke different for men and women?

Men and women who have strokes often feel similar symptoms of stroke, such as face drooping, arm weakness, and speech difficulty.

Other common signs for both women and men include problems seeing out of one or both eyes and balance or coordination problems.

Women can also experience:

  • General weakness
  • Disorientation and confusion or memory problems
  • Fatigue, nausea, or vomiting

However, some signs of stroke in women can be subtle enough to be missed or brushed off. That can lead to delays in getting time-sensitive, life-saving treatments.


What are 'Silent Strokes' and do they have symptoms?

Silent strokes are undetected strokes. They occur when a blood vessel blockage in the brain causes cells to die, but no warning signs or symptoms are obvious.

About one-fourth of people over age 80 have at least one such area of tissue death, known as a "silent infarct," in the brain. The condition is more common with increasing age, and in people who smoke or have a history of vascular disease (conditions that affect your blood vessels).

Experts estimate that 10 silent strokes occur for every stroke with detectable symptoms. Despite being called "silent," these infarcts have been linked to subtle problems in a person's movement and mental processing. They also are linked to future risk for stroke and dementia.

Silent infarcts can be seen in patients through advanced brain imaging techniques such as MRI and CT.

Learn more about the effect of stroke.


Stress and Strain: Body and Brain

Worries about work, money, health care, and staying safe, especially during the pandemic – as well as broader issues like discrimination and climate change – can pile on the stress. If you are feeling overwhelmed, try these ways to notch down your stress yourself. Also, ask for help or a referral from your health care team on ways to lower your stress levels.

Simply put, stress can kill. People with high levels of chronic stress or psychological distress are more likely to die of various causes, research shows, including heart disease and stroke. Chronic stress is also linked to anxiety disorders and major depression. And stress can underlie other problems such as irritability, sleep disruption, headaches, changes in appetite, gut discomfort, and reduced fertility.

Your lifestyle choices affect your brain health. It is never too late to start making healthier choices:


Get enough sleep

Adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Teenagers and children need more. Set a regular bedtime and wake-up routine and turn off dim electronic screens as bedtime approaches.

Move more, sit less

Aim for 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise (or a combination) per week. Regular physical activity can relieve tension, anxiety, and depression.

Get regular checkups

Schedule regular visits with your healthcare provider. Talk about how to control or manage your risk factors.

Eat Healthily

Increase the number of fruits and vegetables you eat. Reduce your intake of sodium, added sugar, and saturated and trans fats.

Don’t smoke or vape

If you currently smoke and vape, quit.


Filed Under: Events, awareness, stroke, event