Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death of Americans and the leading cause of death of long-term disability. Stroke is perceived to be an age-related illness that you have no control over, but the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association, says that it not the case. They report that you do have the power to end stroke by recognizing and controlling your personal risk factors and knowing how to respond in case of emergency.
The Power To End Stroke movement is the American Stroke Association’s national initiative to empower all Americans to recognize the symptoms of a stroke and take action to reduce their personal risk for suffering from this deadly and debilitating disease.
Stroke is a leading cause of disability and number four cause of death in the United States. Approximately 795,000 individuals will have a stroke each year; of these, 167,000 individuals will die and more will suffer a major disability.
And though stroke can happen to anyone at any time, studies have shown that African Americans are twice as likely to suffer a first-ever stroke compared to Caucasians because of having an higher incidence of stroke risk factors such as family history of stroke, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Simple lifestyle changes like increasing your level of physical activity, quitting smoking, control of your cholesterol and blood pressure levels and maintaining a healthy diet are real areas in a person’s life that can be managed, according to the AHA/ASA. The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association’s Life’s Simple 7™ assessment measures seven lifestyle change areas and makes recommendations to improve each category. It is available online at www.mylifecheck.heart.org.
While prevention is key to saving lives from stroke, early recognition of the number four killer can save lives in an emergency.
“More people need to know the signs and act quickly when they recognize it,” said Jason Greenberg, MD, Director of Stroke Rehabilitation at Helen Hayes Hospital and American Heart Association Board Member, “Stroke doesn’t have to mean death or disability. Quick recognition and action by bystanders to get the victim medical treatment will reduce chances for long term damage. A victim may have one or all of the signs. It’s important to call 9-1-1 as soon as possible.”
Stroke warning signs can come on suddenly. The acronym “F.A.S.T.” is a simple way to remember stroke warning signs.
- Face Drooping – Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop or is it numb?
- Arm Weakness – Ask the person to raise both arms. Is one arm weak or numb? Does one arm drift downward?
- Speech Difficulty – Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “the sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly? Are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand?
- Time to call 9-1-1 – If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.
The American Stroke Association’s “Spot a Stroke F.A.S.T.” smartphone app, is available now for free download. The simple tool can help spot the symptoms of a stroke, F.A.S.T. It includes stroke info, warning signs,
# # #
Source: The American Heart Association