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National Stroke Awareness Month

Spotting a stroke when it is happening could save someone’s life!

At last – it is May and spring is finally in the air. May marks the beginning of National Stroke Awareness Month. It’s so important to educate ourselves on strokes and how they affect the people we love. Did you know that strokes are the fifth most common cause of death in the United States? Every 4 minutes, someone in the U.S dies from a stroke – that is 1 out of every 20 deaths! Did you also know that 80% of strokes can be prevented?

We can save a life simply by knowing how to help a person while they are having one and get medical help right away.

If you experience someone near you having a stroke, it is critical that you know the signs, and are able to help them immediately. For one to be able to do this, he or she must first understand what a stroke is, and its effects on the body.

What is a stroke?

A stroke can happen to anyone at any given time, and starts by blood being cut off to the brain. Next, oxygen to the brain is restricted, causing brain cells to die. When brain cells begin to die during a stroke, one experiences minimal to extensive damage to the brain. Such damage can be identified as memory or muscle loss – it is all dependent on the severity of the stroke and how quickly one receives medical attention.

How to recognize a stroke and what to do:

The key to saving someone’s life in the event that they are having a stroke is being able to simply notice that they are having one.

What to look for:

  • Numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, sometimes on one side of the body
  • Confusion or slurred speech
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Dizziness, loss of coordination and balance
  • Severe headaches


Although a stroke can be life threatening and can cause physical disabilities in persons who have experienced them, strokes can be prevented. The CDC has shown that 80% of strokes can be prevented by taking the following steps:

  1. Maintain a healthy diet that is low in sodium – this can reduce the chances of diabetes and high blood pressure that can put you at risk of experiencing a stroke
  2. Exercising regularly and making sure you stay active reduces the odds of experiencing a stroke
  3. No smoking – cigarettes greatly increase your chances of a stroke
  4. Limiting alcohol Intake – it is recommended that individuals limit their alcohol intake, specifically to two drinks for men and one drink for women

If you suspect someone is experiencing a stroke, call 911 right away – it could mean the difference between life or death.

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