May Is National Stroke Awareness Month
Published: May 6, 2020
Every year, an average of 800,000 people in the U.S. experience a stroke, a serious medical event that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. Nearly 150,000 people die as a result of stroke each year, and many more suffer disability.
The bad news is that with the aging of our population, the number of strokes is expected to grow. But there’s some good news as well. In March 2020, stroke experts noted that more people are surviving a stroke these days. And those survivors also have a better chance of making a good recovery, due to improvements in stroke treatment, medications and rehabilitation.
There is a great deal we can do before … during … and after a stroke to reduce the risk of death and disability.
Before: Know Your Risk Factors
Anyone can have a stroke. Strokes happen to both men and women, and to people of every age and ethnicity. But we can take steps to lower our risk of stroke, including:
- eat a healthy diet
- quit smoking
- maintain a healthy weight
- get enough exercise
- reduce stress
- follow your doctor’s recommendations for controlling high blood pressure and other health conditions such as high cholesterol and diabetes.
During: Know the Signs, and Seek Help Right Away
The earlier a stroke is diagnosed, the better! Everyone should know the signs of stroke. To help us remember, stroke experts teach the F.A.S.T. memory device:
Time to call 9-1-1.
Other symptoms of stroke can include confusion, vision problems, trouble walking, or a sudden, severe headache.
Seeking medical attention at the first suspicion of a stroke is so important! There are many things doctors can do to minimize damage from a stroke, but recovery depends in part on prompt treatment during “the golden hour” when the most can be done to halt the stroke’s effect on the brain. So when in doubt, call 9-1-1 right away!
After: Stroke Rehab Makes All the Difference
According to the National Stroke Association, 10% of stroke survivors eventually recover completely and another 25% recover with only minor impairments. While a certain number of stroke survivors will have a permanent disability, stroke rehabilitation can go a long way in improving the outcome. Stroke rehabilitation might include physical, occupational and/or speech therapy, as well as help from rehabilitation nurses, mental health professionals, and social workers.
It’s important to keep at it. Some people wrongly believe that stroke patients regain all the abilities they are going to after a few months, but the American Stroke Association says many patients continue to improve over the course of several years. The success of stroke rehab depends to an extent on the severity of the stroke, but also on a patient’s perseverance during rehab and the quality of the rehab team.
Welbrook Centennial Hills stroke care experts craft an individualized plan of care for each guest, provided by our skilled and compassionate staff in our large and fully equipped therapy gym. Our goal is to help each guest reach their highest possible recovery by providing continuing motivation and support.