The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA), along with Hartford HealthCare, are encouraging Connecticut residents to help end stroke, the state’s fourth leading cause of death.
Despite claiming more than 133,000 lives annually in the United States and an average of 1,300 deaths a year in Connecticut, as many as 80 percent of strokes remain preventable.
Most people who have a stroke have high blood pressure so it’s important to know your blood pressure numbers and keep them under control to help prevent stroke. Normal blood pressure is below 120/80 mm Hg. Nearly one in six American adults with high blood pressure don’t know it, according to AHA/ASA.
“Awareness is also key when it comes to stroke treatment,” said Donna Handley, President of Backus Hospital. “That is why Hartford HealthCare is working with the AHA/ASA to educate employees and citizens of Connecticut through a social media and public service campaign featuring the signs of stroke. We believe that if people understand what a stroke is, we can prevent more lives from being lost or permanently altered by them.”
With many strokes, getting the right treatment immediately can save lives and improve recovery. The American Stroke Association’s Together to End Stroke™ initiative, sponsored nationally by Medtronic and locally sponsored by Hartford HealthCare, teaches the acronym F.A.S.T. to help people to recognize the most common stroke warning signs and what to do if one occurs:
• F – Face Drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
• A – Arm Weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
• S – Speech Difficulty: Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence like, “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
• T – Time to call 911: If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 911 and get them to the hospital immediately.
The AHA/ASA and Hartford HealthCare stroke awareness campaign kicks off in June and will continue through World Stroke Day, taking place on October 29.
For more information about stroke visit StrokeAssociation.org.