May is National Stroke Awareness Month

National Stroke Awareness Month is a great time to raise awareness about this deadly condition and promote preventive measures.

What is stroke?

Stroke kills almost 130,000 of the 800,000 Americans who die of cardiovascular disease each year—that’s 1 in every 19 deaths from all causes.1

A stroke, sometimes called a brain attack, occurs when a clot blocks the blood supply to the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. You can greatly reduce your risk for stroke through lifestyle changes and, in some cases, medication.

Are you at risk?

Anyone, including children, can have a stroke. Every year, about 610,000 people in the United States have a new stroke.2

Several factors that are beyond your control can increase your risk for stroke. These include your age, sex, and ethnicity. But there are many unhealthy habits that you can change. Examples include smoking, drinking too much alcohol, and not getting enough exercise.

Having high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes also can increase your risk for stroke. However, treating these conditions can reduce the risk of stroke. Ask your doctor about preventing or treating these medical conditions.

What are the signs and symptoms?

The five most common signs and symptoms of stroke are:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg.
  • Sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding others.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden dizziness, trouble walking, or loss of balance or coordination.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

If you think that you or someone you know is having a stroke, call 9-1-1 immediately.

“FAST Wallet Card” is a pocket-sized card that teaches you how to act FAST when it comes to stroke