National Stroke Awareness Month is a yearly event held in May with the goal of making Americans aware that they may be able to ‘Save a Life’ of someone experiencing a stroke.

The month is run by the American Stroke Association to help people ‘Save a Life’ by raising awareness about:

  • Stroke risk factors
  • Stroke symptoms
  • Stroke preventative measures

What are the Risk Factors for Stroke?

People of all ages, backgrounds, and races can have a stroke. But, the chances increase with certain risk factors, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • High red blood cell count
  • High blood cholesterol and lipids
  • Lack of exercise and obesity
  • Excessive alcohol and drug use
  • Older age (for each decade of life past age 55, the risk of stroke more than doubles)
  • Race (African-Americans have a much higher risk of dying and becoming disabled from a stroke.)

Symptoms of Stroke

Common stroke symptoms to be aware of include:

  • Weakness or numbness of the face, arm, or leg
  • Trouble speaking or understanding
  • Vision problems
  • Dizziness
  • Problems with balance and/or coordination
  • Difficulty walking or moving
  • Fainting or seizures
  • Severe headaches that come on suddenly 

Are There Any Preventative Measures for Stroke?

The best way to prevent having a stroke is to make lifestyle changes that include a balanced diet, regular exercise, and limiting or ceasing drinking and smoking.

It’s also important to manage underlying conditions known to increase the risk of strokes, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes, and atrial fibrillation.

Hospice and Palliative Care Can Help

If you or a loved one has recently had a stroke, help is available. Hospice and palliative care specialists help families cope with the challenges that arise after having a stroke, including the side effects of stroke and ensuing medical treatment and family and caregiver stress. Contact us today to learn more.