Become a “Stroke Hero” During American Stroke Month

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Count to 40. In the time that you do so, someone in the United States will have suffered from a stroke.

Stroke claims the lives of 130,000 Americans every year, making it the fifth leading cause of death in our country. It’s the leading cause of disability in the U.S., and it’s estimated that one out of six people will suffer a stroke in his or her lifetime. And while people of certain demographics are at greater risk to have a stroke, strokes can occur at any age and aren’t limited to any race, sex, ethnicity or genetic predisposition.

But according to the American Stroke Association, one in three Americans is unable to identify all the stroke warning signs. And many Americans still do not think of stroke as a major health concern to themselves or others. To get a better understanding of the misconceptions surrounding stroke, check out this video:

That’s why we’re proud to support the American Stroke Association in their mission to create as many “Stroke Heroes” as possible throughout the month of May as part of American Stroke Month.

How can you become a Stroke Hero? All it takes is knowing the warning signs of a stroke and acting F.A.S.T.

F-ace drooping — Does one side of the face droop or feel numb? Ask the person to smile and watch if it appears uneven.

A-rm weakness/numbness — Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms and watch if one drifts downward.

S-peech difficulty/slurring — Is speech slurred? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence and listen if it’s hard to understand.

T-ime to call 911 — If you or someone you know shows any of these symptoms, even if they go away, call 911 immediately. And remember to note the time that the symptoms appeared.

Your ability to spot stroke symptoms and act quickly by calling 911 might mean the difference between life and death or between full recovery and lifelong disability.

This is a great time to start working towards reducing your risk of stroke as well. Certain lifestyle choices, like smoking, can lead to an increased risk, so it’s important to understand which habits you should be working to eliminate. To help you understand your individual risk, we have a helpful stroke risk assessment — simply answer a few questions about your health and lifestyle, and you’ll instantly have a better idea at what kind of risk you face.

Think you’ve got a firm grasp on the symptoms and potential risk factors? Take our simple stroke quiz or the American Stroke Association’s F.A.S.T. quiz to find out if you’re on the right track.

For even more information, visit our Online Health Library or click here to see why UM Charles Regional Medical Center was named a Primary Stroke Center by the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems.

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