May is Stroke Awareness Month. Stroke is a leading cause of death in the United States, killing nearly 130,000 Americans each year—that’s 1 of every 19 deaths. As part of creating awareness this month, Hammer Medical wants you to be aware of stroke signs and know what to do if you think someone is having a stroke.
If you think someone around you may be having a stroke, you need to act. Even if you don’t know the person, many of these steps will not be so obvious as to draw unwanted attention to the person. Remember that some illness or injuries like a previous stroke or brain injury can look like a stroke.
What should you do? Remember the acronym FAST!
Face- Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
Arms- Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downwards?
Speech- Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred?
Time- If you observe any of these signs, call 911 immediately!
Stay with the person or have someone else stay with them if possible. Have the person sit, lie down or stay seated to avoid falling.
Note the time of the symptoms first appeared or that you noticed them. If given within three hours of the first symptom, there is an FDA-approved clot-buster medication that may reduce long-term disability for the most common type of stroke. There are also two other types of stroke treatment available that might help reduce the effects of stroke.
Remember, it’s better to call in a false alarm than to let a stroke go untreated and risk further damage or death.
Hammer Medical sees people recovering from strokes every day. We understand the equipment that can assist the person as they recover and learn new ways of living after the stroke. See us for walkers, canes, wheelchairs, bathroom safety equipment and many other products that can make recovery from a stroke better.
Stay tuned to our blog as we’ll be going over more stroke-related information soon as part of Stroke Awareness Month.
Sources: Stroke.org and the CDC