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Stroke Awareness Month Part 2

Part 2 of a 2-Part Series

National Stroke Awareness Month is an annual event held each May since 1989, designed to make Americans aware that they may be able to “Save the Life” of a person experiencing a stroke…be it a co-worker, friend, neighbor or family member. In this second part of our two-week series about stroke awareness, we will cover the ways you can raise awareness about stroke prevention and treatment and how to identify and eliminate risk factors.

Over the years, public education campaigns have been conducted during May to increase awareness of different aspects of stroke that directly affect specific populations, such as women or those at high risk for stroke. Today, National Stroke Association continues educating the public through campaigns such as the Faces of Stroke℠ and by creating easy-to-use tools and resources that initiate individuals and groups to raise awareness on a local level.

According to Samaritan Stroke Services, risk factors for stroke include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, atrial fibrillation and smoking.

“If stroke or other risk factors run in your family, there’s a higher chance you could be at risk too,” says Karen Phillips, RN and clinical coordinator for Samaritan Stroke Services. “By talking to your doctor and taking preventative measures, you’ll have a much better chance of avoiding a stroke.”

What can you do this May to raise awareness about stroke prevention and treatment?

  1. Familiarize yourself with the emotional, physical and financial impacts that strokes have on our country.
  2. Influence others to improve their health by sharing personal stories of how stroke affects lives.
  3. Talk to legislators and thought leaders about how their decisions can positively affect survivors throughout their recovery.

What Can You Do to Lower Your Chance of Having a Stroke?

  • People with a family history of stroke are more likely to have a stroke. If you have such a history of stroke, let your doctor know.
  • Prevent and control high blood pressure
  • Prevent and control diabetes.
  • Eat healthy food
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise
  • Abstain from using tobacco
  • Do not overindulge in alcohol (Don’t drink more than two drinks per day on average for men or more than one drink per day on average for women).
  • Treat atrial fibrillation.

The key to surviving a stroke is awareness and prompt medical attention. “Stroke does not have to be as debilitating as we once believed,” says James Meschia, M.D., director of Mayo Clinic’s Primary Stroke Center. “However, obtaining prompt medical attention is critical so the effects of a stroke can be limited and the patient’s condition can be managed to prevent further damage and improve recovery.”

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