Learning risks and signs of stroke can save a life

May Is American Stroke Month
May 6, 2014

During American Stroke Month in May, the American Heart Association/ American Stroke Association asks everyone in the Delaware Valley to learn two things that may save a life: know his or her risk factors for stroke and know stroke warning signs and what to do in an emergency.

Stroke is the No. 1 preventable cause of disability and the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. Someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds, yet 80 percent of strokes are preventable.

“Knowing your risk for stroke is important, because many risk factors can be modified and controlled to lower your risk and prevent stroke,” said Michael Mullen, MD, an American Stroke Association volunteer and assistant professor of neurology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. “

The No. 1 stroke risk factor is high blood pressure. Nearly 78 million Americans have high blood pressure, and many more aren’t even aware that they have it. Furthermore, many people with high blood pressure do not have it adequately controlled. It’s important to check your blood pressure regularly, talk to your doctor about healthy levels for you, and make sure you reach your goal level.”

Through the American Stroke Association’s Together to End Stroke initiative, the association provides information and tools to help people to prevent, treat and beat stroke. A free stroke risk assessment, available at, helps individuals evaluate their personal stroke risk and work with their doctor to begin a prevention plan.

Together to End Stroke, nationally sponsored by Covidien, a global healthcare product company, teaches the acronym F.A.S.T. to help people recognize a stroke and what to do if one occurs: F-face drooping, A-arm weakness, S-speech difficulty and T-time to call 911.

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 Follow #StrokeMonth on Facebook and Twitter.


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