Friday, May 10, 2013

May is National Stroke Awareness Month

According to the American Stroke Association, about 795,000 Americans each year suffer a new or recurrent stroke. That means, on average, a stroke occurs every 40 seconds.

F.A.S.T. is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of stroke. If you can spot the signs, you'll know that you need to call 9-1-1 for help right away.

F: Face Drooping - Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person's smile uneven?
A: Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S: Speech Difficulty - Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like "The sky is blue." Is the sentence repeated correctly?
T: Time to call 9-1-1 - If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you'll know when the first symptoms appeared.

You can do plenty to keep your heart and blood vessels healthy, even if you've had a stroke. A healthy lifestyle plays a big part in decreasing your risk for disability and death from stroke and heart attack.  Here are some common steps from the American Stroke Association to take to be healthier and reduce your risk of stroke:
  • Don’t smoke and avoid second-hand smoke.
  • Improve your eating habits. Eat foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium and added sugars.
  • Be physically active.
  • Take your medicine as directed.
  • Get your blood pressure checked regularly and work with your healthcare provider to manage it if it’s high.
  • Reach and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Decrease your stress level.
  • Seek emotional support when it’s needed.
  • Have regular medical checkups.
The Penn Stroke Center is Philadelphia’s only “Comprehensive Stroke Center” as certified by the Joint Commission and American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.  This relatively new level of certification recognizes the significant resources in staff and training that comprehensive stroke centers must have to treat complex stroke.

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