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May is Stroke Month!

Stroke is the No. 5 killer of all Americans and is a leading cause of disability, yet many don’t know their risk. American Stroke Month is an annual opportunity to get the word out. Each May, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association recognizes American Stroke Month by rallying the nation around the cause, because together we can end stroke.

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Stroke facts

  • Someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds.
  • Stroke kills nearly 130,000 people a year. That’s 1 in every 20 deaths.
  • Nearly 800,000 people in the United States have a stroke every year, with about three in four being first-time strokes.
  • Stroke is a leading cause of long-term disability and the No. 1 preventable cause of disability.
  • Stroke disproportionally affects minorities. African-Americans have almost twice the risk of stroke as White Americans and a much higher death rate from stroke.
  • Age, gender, lifestyle, and family history are all risk factors for stroke, but you can lower your risk by following Life’s Simple 7: manage blood pressure, control cholesterol, reduce blood sugar, get active, eat better, lose weight, and stop smoking.   

Spot a stroke F.A.S.T.

  • Face drooping - Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
  • Arm tingling - Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech difficulty - Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like "the sky is blue." Is the sentence repeated correctly?
  • Time to call 911 - If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.

High Blood Pressure Education Month

High blood pressure affects 80 million Americans, but few know they have it and only about half of those who know have it under control. People are most likely to take action about their blood pressure if they realize the consequences of the condition.

High blood pressure has a domino effect on health, leading to heart attackheart failurestroke, and even kidney disease. If Americans take control of their blood pressure, it can have a huge impact on the rates of CVD and kidney disease.

In honor of World Hypertension Day on May 17, we’re asking people to get their blood pressure checked as part of a global effort to reach 3 million blood pressure checks in one month (April 17 – May 17).

For additional resources on managing your blood pressure, go to www.heart.org/hbp

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