Know the Signs Before It’s Too Late
May is Stroke Awareness Month and a chance to highlight the signs and symptoms of a stroke, which can be deadly if not caught early. A stroke is when the supply of blood to the brain is interrupted, which deprives the brain of oxygen and nutrients. Warning signs should not be ignored, and it has been shown that getting medical care as quickly as possible guarantees the best chance of recovery.
According to the American Stroke Association, there are some risk factors that are not in your control. The likelihood of stroke increases with age. It is more common with the elderly but can affect people of all ages. Family history of stroke, race, and gender play a role. African American and Latinos are more likely to suffer from stroke, and women have more strokes and are killed more frequently than men.
The good news is that there are some factors that you can control, like lifestyle choices. Lower your blood pressure, quitting smoking, controlling your blood sugar, if you have type 1 or 2 diabetes are all great ways to reduce your risk. Other lifestyle changes you can make involve being healthier overall; having a healthy diet, increasing your physical activity and reducing your BMI even by a little can reduce your risk, but also help you feel better.
Here are the warning signs of stroke to lookout for:
- Sudden numbness on face, arm, or leg, especially if it’s exclusive to one side of your body.
- Sudden confusion like having trouble speaking or understanding what someone is saying.
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes, or double vision.
- Trouble walking or loss of balance and/or coordination.
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
- Nausea and/or vomiting.
This may be a lot to remember, but the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association made an acronym to help you recognize the signs quickly – aptly named F.A.S.T.
F.A.S.T. stands for:
- Facial Drooping
- Arm Weakness
- Speech Difficultly, and
- Time to Call 9-1-1
At QueensCare Health Centers, we bring awareness to the signs of a stroke all year long, as it can be a deadly medical emergency. If you were already familiar with the signs of stroke, we encourage you to observe Stroke Awareness Month this May and teach others; It can mean the difference between life and death.