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May is American Stroke Month

by jmaloni
Wed, Apr 30th 2014 07:00 am

Submitted by the American Stroke Association

During American Stroke Month in May, the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association, asks all New Yorkers to learn two things that may save a life.

1. Know if you are at risk for stroke.

2. Know the stroke warning signs and what to do in a stroke emergency.

Stroke is the most preventable cause of disability and the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. Someone in the U.S. has a stroke every 40 seconds, yet 80 percent of strokes are preventable.

According to the American Stroke Association, knowing if you are at risk for stroke is critical, because many risk factors can be modified and controlled. The No. 1 stroke risk factor is high blood pressure. About 77 percent of people who suffer a first stroke have blood pressure higher than 140/90 mm Hg. Lowering your top number by 10 or bottom number by 5 may cut your risk of stroke in half.

Through the American Stroke Association's Together to End Stroke initiative, information and tools to help people to prevent, treat and beat stroke are available. A free stroke risk assessment, available at www.StrokeAssociation.org/strokemonth, helps individuals to evaluate their personal stroke risk and to work with their doctor to begin a prevention plan.

Together to End Stroke, nationally sponsored by Covidien, a global health care product company, teaches the acronym F.A.S.T. to help people to recognize a stroke 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? Is the person unable to speak or 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 9-1-1: If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately.

Additional stroke signs include: sudden severe headache with no known cause; sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; or sudden confusion or trouble understanding.

Together to End Stroke offers a free "Spot a Stroke F.A.S.T." mobile app for iOS and Android, including the warning signs and a searchable map to find local hospitals recognized for heart and stroke care.

For more information about stroke or American Stroke Month activities, visit www.StrokeAssociation.org/strokemonth. Follow #StrokeMonth on Facebook and Twitter to add your voice to the conversation.

•Both Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center and Mount St. Mary's Hospital and Health Center were recently lauded for their stroke care.

Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center received the Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold-Plus Quality Achievement Award for implementing specific quality improvement measures outlined by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association for the treatment of stroke patients.

Mount St. Mary's Hospital received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold-Plus Quality Achievement Award. The award recognized Mount St. Mary's commitment and success in implementing care for stroke patients, according to evidence-based guidelines.

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