National Stroke Awareness and High Blood Pressure Awareness Month

What is a stroke?

A stroke happens when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off. Brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die. A stroke can cause you to permanently lose speech, movement and memory.

Stroke statistics:

  • Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of adult disability.
  • Every 40 seconds on average, an American will have a stroke.
  • About 795,000 Americans have a new or recurrent stroke annually.
  • About 90% of stroke risk is due to modifiable risk factors — 74% is due to behavioral risk factors.

Prevent stroke by:

  • Identifying your personal risk.
  • Reducing your controllable risk factors, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
  • Recognizing and responding to the signs and symptoms of a stroke.

Use the letters in FAST to recognize the warning signs of a stroke:

  • Face drooping: Smile. Is your smile uneven or lopsided?
  • Arm weakness: Raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech difficulty: Repeat a simple sentence. Can you correctly repeat the words?
  • Time: Time to call 911. Time is important, so don’t delay!

How is a stroke diagnosed and evaluated?

  • CT of the head: A CT of the head can detect a stroke from a blood clot or bleeding within the brain.
  • MRI of the head: An MRI can detect brain tissue damaged by a stroke and highlight blood flow within the arteries and veins.
  • Carotid ultrasound: The ultrasound shows the inside of the carotid arteries in your neck, highlighting buildup of fatty deposits, or plaques, and blood flow in your arteries.

Make sure you act FAST!