Get Smart About Stroke

Stroke is one of the most dangerous medical conditions today, and it affects nearly 800,000 people annually in the United States. Strokes aren’t always deadly, but they can lead to long-term disability and brain damage. Your brain’s need for oxygen is the reason why strokes turn risky so fast. Loss of oxygen from blood clots or burst blood vessel kills brain cells within minutes, so time is your biggest priority.

If you think someone’s having a stroke, act F.A.S.T.:

  • F—Face:

    Ask them to smile and note if either side of their face droops

  • A—Arms:

    Ask them to raise their arms to see if one is lower than the other

  • S—Speech:

    Ask them to repeat an easy phrase to check for strange speech

  • T—Time:

    If you notice any of the above, call 9-1-1 immediately

Get familiar with stroke risk factors. People older than 55, have genetic disorders like sickle cell disease or a family history of stroke, and/or are Black, Latino, American Indian, or Alaska Native are more likely to have a stroke. Women are also more at risk than men. Many of these traits are linked to health issues such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and diabetes, which can cause stroke.

Luckily, there are steps you can take to reduce your stroke risk and live a long, healthy life. Getting active, limiting alcohol, watching your weight, and giving tobacco the boot are all big steps. If you have an elevated risk for stroke, don’t panic! Manage the risk by staying up to date with doctors’ visits to check your cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure, and heartbeat to see what treatment is best for you.

Content by Lockton Dunning Benefits with info from