If you look at me, you would never think that I’m a stroke survivor. Last year, I suffered a stroke. It was totally unexpected and frightening. I’m now dedicated to spreading the word about stroke prevention.
In the United States, someone suffers from a stroke every 40 seconds. A stroke occurs when one of the arteries to the brain is blocked or bursts. As a result, part of the brain does not get the blood it needs and brain cells die.
May is National Stroke Awareness Month, an observance that highlights the importance of knowing the signs and symptoms of a stroke (F-A-S-T):
- Face drooping
- Arm weakness
- Speech difficulty
- Time to call 9–1–1).
In addition to these signs, there are a few less common symptoms you should be aware of:
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or understanding speech
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes (this is what happened to me)
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of coordination or balance
- Sudden severe headache
Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of severe disability.
Stroke is preventable and largely treatable. Living a healthy lifestyle (e.g., being physically active, eating more fruits and vegetables and foods low in sodium and salt, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding smoking) can reduce the chances of having a stroke. Properly managing certain medical conditions (e.g., high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and diabetes) also can lower the risk.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 is exacerbating the problem. I just read an article in the Washington Post detailing how young and middle-aged people, barely sick with COVID-19, are dying of strokes.
Please take care of yourself and share this information with all of your friends and family. You can also donate to the Stroke Recovery Foundation to help stroke survivors and their caregivers.
Frederick J. Goodall, Mocha Man Style Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief