Because 80 percent of strokes are preventable, it is important for people to be aware of their risk factors and the warning signs of stroke.
• Every 40 seconds someone has a stroke, with 795,000 strokes annually in the United States.
We’ve made advances medically with new treatment options, but it is really up to the public to be aware of the warning signs and to call 911, because the sooner treatment begins, the better the outcome.
Most people don’t die from a stroke, but they become disabled. The long term affects of stroke are huge for both the patient and their family. In fact, stroke is the No. 1 cause of disability and the No. 3 cause of death in the U.S.
May is National Stroke Awareness Month. Controllable medical risk factors include high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, high cholesterol and diabetes and controllable lifestyle risk factors include smoking and tobacco use, alcohol use, physical inactivity and obesity. Obviously, it is important to know your risk factors and to control the ones you can.
Symptoms of a stroke can be outlined in the FAST response method – Face, Arms, Speech and Time. Does one side of the face droop? Does one arm drift downwards when both arms are held up? Is speech slurred? If a person shows any of these symptoms, time is important, call 911 immediately.
And if there is an emergency, residents of Eastern Connecticut are lucky to have a state designated Primary Stroke Center at Backus, meaning it offers rapid, high quality, evidenced based care as a part of a comprehensive, multidisciplinary program.
Cindy Arpin, RN
Stroke Program Coordinator
The William W. Backus Hospital