May 9th, 2016

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May is National Stroke Awareness Month

May is National Stroke Awareness Month. And to help spread awareness, our Colleague Tammy agreed to share her personal experience below.

A Powerful Personal Experience

Six months ago I had a stroke; in fact, I had three strokes. This happened while I was at work at our Mass Ave. Specialized Housing group home.

It was a normal afternoon at the house. I was at the computer sending an email and one of the ladies who lives there asked me a question. When I tried to answer, my response came out a little jumbled and I tried to say it again. The second time my words came out correctly, but I knew something wasn’t right.

Thank goodness I knew about F.A.S.T. I went to the bathroom and checked my face in the mirror. I smiled at myself and it looked OK; no more lopsided than usual. I tried raising my arms, and they didn’t fall, so that was OK, too. But when I went and spoke to my Colleagues, it was obvious to me that my speech was not OK.

I took a little walk around the yard and tried to name different things I saw. “That’s a tree, that’s a bench, that’s a flower” But the words came out wrong. “That’s a treeded, that’s a benchesd, that’s a flowerersrt.” I knew then that something was wrong.

I went into the house and told my Colleagues that I thought I was having a stroke and to call 911. I don’t think I spoke those words correctly, but they knew just what to do. Karen called 911 and Judy calmly took the Residents out of the house for a ride so they would not be scared when the ambulance arrived. Karen took my vitals and spoke to the EMT’s for me when they arrived. In a few minutes I was off to the ER.

My story has a happy outcome. I am OK. Thanks to having the knowledge of what to look for and the assistance of my Colleagues, I was able to quickly get to the hospital and start receiving care.  What happened to me could happen to anyone. Do you know what to do if it happens to you or those around you?

The Facts

Here are some facts about stroke according to the National Stroke Association:

  • On average, someone in the US has a stroke every 40 seconds.
  • On average in the US, one person dies every four minutes.
  • Stroke is the 5th leading cause of death in the US and a leading cause of adult disability.
  • Family history of stroke increases your chance for stroke.
  • Smoking, high blood pressure, and diabetes increase your risk of stroke.
  • Transient Ischemioc Attacks (TIAs) are warning signs of stroke.
  • Medical conditions such as AFib can increase the chance of stroke.
  • Stroke can happen to anyone, at anytime.

Risk Factors

Up to 80% of stokes are preventable. Know your risk factors. Age is a risk factor and after age 55 your chance of stroke doubles every decade. Race is a rick factor with African Americans at higher risk for stroke. Gender is a rick factor, with women at greater risk than men. In fact twice as many women die of a stroke than breast cancer each year. To learn more about your risk, check out this Stroke Scorecard.

What You Can Do

High blood pressure is the number one cause of stroke and the most important risk factor to control with healthier eating habits, physical activity, and possibly even medication. If you have heart disease, follow the recommendations of your doctor. High cholesterol can also cause strokes and needs to be controlled. Sleep Apnea is a risk factor and you may need to use a c-pap or other machine to keep this condition under control. If you have diabetes, you are 2 to 4 times more likely to have a stroke, so it is important to control your BSL by maintaining healthy eating habits and regular physical activity, as well as medications if prescribed. And if you smoke, STOP!

Preventative Tips:

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Be active.
  • Drink less alcohol.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Watch what you eat
  • Learn the F.A.S.T signs

Learn More

For more information on preventing stroke, click here. Call 911 immediately if you see one or more signs of a stroke.

And check out the American Heart Association’s F.A.S.T. Song – Stroke Signs, featuring Dee-1 & Tha Hip Hop Doc video below.

2 Responses to “May is National Stroke Awareness Month”

  1. Katherine Bhana says:

    Sending Prayers, After my husband Stroke diagnosis in 2009. He was put on Thrombolytic therapy and after some time on therapy he didn’t feel any different, so we started on a Stroke Ataxia treatment protocol from Natural Herbs Centre ( natural herbs centre. com), the treatment effectively treated his Stroke condition. The slurred speech, muscle weakness, has subsided, he’s learning to write again. Its almost like a miracle!

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