Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States suffers a stroke. With more strokes occurring every year across the age spectrum, it is critical that all Americans adopt preventive lifestyle habits, know the warning signs, and understand the treatment options available to themselves and their loved ones should a stroke occur. May Is National Stroke Awareness Month—a time for Coppell residents to become stroke savvy.
Although it’s more common in older adults, stroke can affect anyone. In fact, stroke is trending upward in younger Americans. According to the National Stroke Association, the past decade has seen a 44% increase in the number of young Americans hospitalized due to stroke, with approximately 10-15% of all strokes occurring in adults aged 18-50 years.
Several factors that are beyond your control can increase your risk for stroke. These include your age, sex, and ethnicity. But although not all strokes are preventable, up to 80% are. Certain lifestyle habits can reduce a person’s risk of having a stroke. Factors that work in a person’s favor include maintaining a healthy diet and low cholesterol, exercising regularly, limiting alcohol consumption, and refraining from using tobacco products.
Early Action Is Vital
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 38% of respondents to one survey were aware of all major stroke symptoms and knew to call 9-1-1. Patients who arrive at the emergency room within three hours of onset of their first symptoms often have less disability three months after a stroke than those who receive delayed care, states the CDC—thus, recognizing the signs and taking quick action is critical.
If you suspect someone is having a stroke, BE FAST:
- Balance: Is the person experiencing a sudden loss of balance or coordination?
- Eyes: Is the person having a sudden change in vision or trouble seeing?
- Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side droop?
- Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Is one arm weaker?
- Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is the speech slurred or strange?
- Time: The time to act is now if you see any of these signs! Call 9-1-1 right away.
Of the 800,000+ Americans who suffer strokes annually in the United States, more than 150,000 die. For those who survive a stroke, quality of life is an important issue. In addition to regaining physical abilities such as the ability to walk, get dressed, and bathe independently, one’s capacity to communicate may also be severely damaged by a stroke. That’s why it is imperative to recognize stroke symptoms and seek emergency medical treatment as soon as possible to limit these outcomes.
“During Stroke Awareness Month, we want all individuals to be able to recognize the signs of stroke in themselves or a loved one, and understand that acting quickly is key,” Coppell Fire Chief Kevin Richardson states, “We encourage everyone to live a healthy lifestyle, which not only reduces your risk of having a stroke, but of suffering from a large majority of other serious diseases as well.”
More information on heart disease and stroke prevention can be found on the CDC’s website, as well as the Million Hearts initiative website.