How Smart Are You About Stroke?
May is Stroke Awareness Month
During the month of May, Peripheral Vascular Associates is dedicated to raising awareness about stroke and helping patients expand their knowledge of stroke as it pertains to their own health and wellness. Many people can share a story about stroke- whether it has happened to them or has affected someone they know or love. In fact, nearly 800,000 people have a stroke each year. Your chances of saving someone’s life by knowing the signs, symptoms, risks, and factors associated with stroke depend on being proactive about your health, and taking the time to learn more about stroke.
Types of Stroke
The first step of educating yourself is to learn about the different types of stroke that exist. Many people do not know that there are multiple types of stroke. Simply put, a stroke occurs when blood supply to the brain is blocked or reduced.
This can be caused by a blocked artery, leading to an ischemic stroke; or the bursting of a blood vessel, leading to a hemorrhagic stroke. Uncontrolled high blood pressure is the most common cause of a hemorrhagic stroke, and a temporary blood clot can cause a transient ischemic stroke (TIA). We want our patients to be as knowledgeable as possible because identifying the symptoms and the type of stroke occurring can lead to quicker treatment.
How it Affects You
A stroke is also called a brain attack and they are just that- an attack in the brain. The human body is controlled by the left and right side of the brain.
The left side of the brain controls the ability to speak and understand language in most people. The left side of your brain controls the right side of your body and allows you to complete math or science problems, analyze, and understand what you read or hear.
The right side of the brain controls the ability to pay attention, recognize things you see, hear or touch, and be aware of your own body. The right side of your brain controls the left side of your body, and allows you to appreciate art or music and recognize emotion or do creative things.
Depending on the side of the brain that is most affected by a stroke, you may have trouble doing these things in your daily life.
Take Action, Be Smart About Stroke!
Now that you have learned the signs of a stroke, make sure you are ready to act FAST and call 9-1-1 immediately with any sign of stroke. The F.A.S.T. acronym helps to guide your actions during a stroke emergency.
- F: Face– Ask the person to smile. Is one side of their face drooping?
- A: Arm– Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- S: Speech– Ask the person to repeat a phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
- T: Time– If any of these signs are present, it is time to call 9-1-1 immediately.
Contact Support or Network Groups
If you or a loved one has already suffered a stroke, it may be helpful to reach out to support groups or those that can be a network of strength during the recovery stage. Below, we provide helpful resources and links for you to visit.
- American Heart Association Support Network– Find educational resources and connect with others in an online space dedicated to sharing your journey and experience.
- National Stroke Association– The National Stroke Association is the only national association devoted 100% to stroke rehabilitation and prevention efforts.
- American Stroke Association Resources– The ASA provides resources for professionals, members of the community, and more in order to advance the knowledge and prevention of stroke.
Being Smart About Stroke takes a community of support, and begins with you. Start conversations with your doctor early and take action to manage your risk factors. Knowledge is power- get Smart About Stroke today.
For more information on stroke prevention please call Peripheral Vascular Associates (PVA) at (210) 237-4444.