National Stroke Awareness Month takes place in May every year. A stroke is an emergency brain attack, cutting vital blood flow and oxygen to the brain. About 795,000 people in the U.S. will have a stroke this year.
That means every 40 seconds, someone experiences a stroke. Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S., and a leading cause of adult long-term disability. Twice as many African Americans have strokes than whites.
Two million brain cells die every minute during a stroke, increasing the risk of permanent brain damage, disability or death. Recognizing symptoms and acting fast to get medical attention can save a life and limit disabilities.
Use the acronym "FAST" to remember the warning signs of stroke:
Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the 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 speech slurred or strange?
Time: If the patient exhibits any of these symptons, call 911 immediately. The sooner EMS is called, the better the chance of recovery.
There are an estimated 7 million stoke survivors in the U.S.
Robinson Memorial Hospital's Health Education Center offers a stroke support group for those who have suffered a stroke and their loved ones. The stroke support group meets monthly, providing a guest speaker and light refreshments. The next support group meeting will take place May 20 from 4 to 5 p.m. with guest speaker Dr. Roswell Dorsett in the Robinson Medical Arts Building, Room 25.
For more information or to RSVP, call the Health Education Center at 330-297-2576.