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article imageMay is National Stroke Awareness month

By Nikki Weingartner     May 11, 2009 in Health
Awareness is key to prevention and the month of May is the time to help bring that awareness to the country. Since the late 80s, awareness month has been used to not only educate but to honour nearly 6 Million survivors in the U.S.
May flowers are under way, with many watching their gardens bloom. But did you know that April's showers bring forward another kind of flower? Its the National Stroke Association's National Stroke Awareness month.
This year, the association is reaching out to Internet sites asking them to spread the word by help raising awareness and prevention methods. With strokes being the number one cause of adult disability and the number three cause of death, it has created a significant financial burden for the healthcare system. In fact, there are around 795,000 strokes each year with over 600,000 of those being new or first time strokes. Unfortunately, less than one-third of the American public are able to recognize more than one stroke symptom and less than 5 percent of stroke patients receive new clot-busting treatments.
As explained by the National Stroke Association, they are looking to utilize the Internet as a means to educate friends, family and others:
National Stroke Association hopes that “going virtual” will help spread life-saving information to more people than ever before empowering individuals to prevent strokes, recognize and respond quickly to stroke symptoms and compassionately understand the realities of stroke recovery.
During a recent visit at a local hospital in Texas, signs were placed in common areas such as patient check-in that explained certain symptoms called F.A.S.T. (Face, Arms, Speech, Time) as a means of recognizing a stroke. This same acronym is used nationally to help increase the response to those symptoms and help lower the incidence of strokes.
The National Stroke Association can be found on both Facebook and Twitter, expanding further into the Internet world.
Although some factors surrounding stroke are uncontrollable, being aware of the risk factors and changing those things than can be controlled and that increase a person's chance of a stroke can help lessen the risk of having a stroke. A stroke is really an attack on the brain, where a blood clot or hemorrhage prevents adequate blood flow and oxygen to the brain. Within moments, the brain can sustain permanent damage that affect loss of speech, arm movement and even death. Things like smoking, birth control pills, obesity, high blood pressure and a high cholesterol all increase the risk of having a stroke.
For a printable stroke kit, visit the American Heart Association for a free PDF version.
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