Stroke is the fourth-leading killer of Alabamians, claiming nearly 3,000 lives in our state each year. Every 40 seconds someone has a stroke. It is the number one cause of permanent disability in Alabama. May is National Stroke Month; a perfect time to share the facts about this terrible disorder.
Almost half of Americans can’t even name one stroke warning sign. May is National Stroke Month so let’s get back to the basics on what a stroke is, prevention and what to do if you notice signs of a stroke.
Stroke is highly preventable. Here are some things you may do to reduce your risk:
- Eat a balanced, portion controlled diet emphasizing a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, low-fat or non-fat dairy products, fish, legumes and sources of protein low in saturated fat
- Get physically active at least 30 minutes per day, most days of the week
- Manage your blood pressure
- Manage diabetes
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Don’t smoke – if you smoke, stop
- Schedule regular visits with your doctor
If healthy eating and physical activity is not enough to reduce your risk, ask your doctor about appropriate medication to help reduce your risk and take it as prescribed.
Stroke is a medical emergency! Know the warning signs and call 9-1-1 immediately if you experience someone having a stroke and say, “I think this is a stroke.”
Acting fast in a stroke emergency may help to reduce the devastating effects of a stroke.
The warning signs are:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
The Health Strategies Staff of the AHA Great Rivers Affiliate developed a free, online stroke awareness toolkit to help companies, hospitals, churches, civic and community groups launch internal stroke awareness campaigns during American Stroke Month and throughout the year. Click Stroke Awareness Toolkit to view the free tools and resources. If you are interested in receiving stroke awareness resources, register via the online registration form and you will receive a confirmation email containing a link to access the resources.
Take control of your heart health in order to lead a stronger, longer and healthier life. For more information on stroke visit the American Heart Association at PowerToEndStroke.org.