Friday, May 31, 2013

Stroke Awareness

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Here it is in the last few hours of May, and I only just realized, thanks to the current issue of StrokeSmart magazine, that May is Stroke Awareness Month. StrokeSmart is from the National Stroke Association, and as a stroke survivor I find it encouraging and informative.

The letter from the magazine’s editor had some statistics that surprised me. To illustrate the need for heightened awareness of stroke, he compared statistics about another disease that is much higher than stroke on the radar of most people in the United States. Think pink for breast cancer awareness. His numbers, all for the U.S.:

- New diagnoses of invasive breast cancer number around 230,000 annually, and there are about 40,000 deaths.  

- In comparison, nearly 800,000 strokes occur in the U.S. every year (about one every 40 seconds), and stroke kills nearly 130,000 people every year.

- Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S., behind heart disease, cancers, and respiratory diseases. 

The numbers for both conditions represent lives of the stricken individuals and their families that are changed forever.

The editor made a plea for readers to help increase awareness of stroke, from educating others about the earliest signs of stroke to joining or organizing fundraising events.

An elder and a stroke survivor, I also found these statistics, reported here, compelling: Nearly three-quarters of all strokes occur in people over the age of 65. 

At any age, recognizing that a stroke may be occurring and getting prompt help is critical. The FAST way to check for signs of stroke is an easy way to remember the warning signs and how to check for them. Using the FAST memory aid is also a reminder of the need for speed.

In the case of stroke the reality is that “Time is brain.”

The FAST check

Face—Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the person’s face droop?

Arms—Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

Speech—Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is the person’s speech slurred or strange?

Time—If you observe any of these signs, call 911 immediately.
Photo: Wikipedia

NOTE: North American and some Central and South American countries use 911. The European Union, Russia, Switzerland and some other countries use 112. Source: Wikipedia


  1. Yes, I have been seeing the ads on T.V. for stroke awareness, one in particular is very effective and rather beautifully done. Scary...and so sorry you have had to go through this. BUT you have come out on the other side!

  2. you would make a great story on one of the ads to show how you can come back if determined and by trying over and over. your story is impressive to me and gives others hope. and this is good for raising awareness so people know what is happening.

  3. I had Bell's Palsy twice -- 2004 (a week before daughter's wedding) and 2011. Facial symptoms mimic a stroke, so I had to go to the ER both times to rule out a stroke. Yours was a timely reminder about FACE.

  4. These are very good warnings Linda.
    I admire you ad the progress you are making. I really appreciate your taking me along in your journey. Wish we were closer to just have a big ole' gab fest. Our hubbies would be rolling their eyes at the way we would be visiting nonstop.
    Have a wonderful weekend.

  5. I had seen those warnings before but really appreciate the reminder. I was no aware how prevalent strokes were.
    I totally agree with Sandra.

  6. Periodic reminders are good for us. I know FAST, but forget, just as I do for the other beneficial acronyms out there. Thanks for that crucial reminder. And yes, Sandra is right. :)

  7. Timely information. I hadn't heard of the magazine. I will check it out. Thanks for the tip.

  8. Just stopping by to catch up with you since I've been off-line for a few days. I hope you are well.

    I've had several family members who've suffered strokes,(grandmother, mother, MIL, FIL) so it's always in the back of my mind. There's some family history of breast cancer, too, but strokes seem to be more prevalent in our families.

  9. I take blood thinner as a cautionary. My AFib problem had stroke as the number one danger. Fortunately an ablation procedure at Mayo Rochester finally provided a fix...:)

  10. Great info. Why not send it to Ronnni Bennetts blog for seniors. :)