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Guest Editorial by the American Heart Association
May is American Stroke Month and, before the month ends, the American Stroke Association – a division of the American Heart Association – is encouraging everyone to join to end stroke, the fifth-leading cause of death in the U.S.
A large majority of strokes can be prevented through education and lifestyle changes such as moving more, eating smart and managing your blood pressure. High blood pressure is the No. 1 preventable cause of stroke. Lowering your blood pressure cuts your risk for stroke. Normal blood pressure is below 120/80 mm Hg. Nearly one in six American adults with high blood pressure don’t know it, according to the American Heart Association.
For many strokes, the right treatment provided immediately can save lives and improve recovery. The American Heart Association teaches the acronym F.A.S.T. to help people to recognize the most common stroke warning signs 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, are they unable to speak, or are they 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 911: If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 911 and get them to the hospital immediately.
For more information about stroke, visit Stroke.org.
The American Stroke Association is a relentless force for a world with fewer strokes and longer, healthier lives. We team with millions of volunteers and donors to ensure equitable health and stroke care in all communities. We work to prevent, treat and beat stroke by funding innovative research, fighting for the public’s health, and providing lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based association was created in 1998 as a division of the American Heart Association. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-888-4STROKE or visit stroke.org.