By the time you’re done reading this article, at least three people will have a stroke. It’s the No. 5 cause of death. But, with research and resources from the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association, there is hope. May is American Stroke Month and the organization is raising awareness of the link between blood pressure and stroke, reminding people that your health is in your hands.
Approximately 800,000 people have a stroke every year, but the good news is most can be prevented. The American Stroke Association offers these tips:
- Evaluate your stroke risk factors. Some are controllable and treatable, while others aren’t. It’s important to understand your risk.
- Know your blood pressure and keep it in a healthy range. High blood pressure is the No. 1 preventable cause of stroke.
- Talk to your health care professional about ways to improve your well-being and help prevent stroke.
- Learn how to spot a stroke F.A.S.T. If you see Face drooping, Arm weakness or Speech difficulty, it’s Time to call 911.
Our power is in knowledge and how we apply that knowledge starting today to defeat stroke. Can prevention be a super-power? Without a doubt. Can acting F.A.S.T. change a life? Absolutely. Let’s defeat stroke by acting now.
Stroke can happen to anyone, at any time, at any age. The American Stroke Association encourages everyone to learn to recognize a stroke, because in a stroke emergency, time lost is brain lost. For every minute you don’t get help, more brain cells die. Readers can learn more about stroke at stroke.org.
If you think someone you love may be having a stroke, the American Stroke Association advises you to call 9-1-1 immediately and say “I think this is a stroke” if you or someone you’re with has any of these warning signs:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
It’s the work of the American Heart Association in West Michigan helping provide survivors hope. Right here in our community the organization is making a significant impact.
The Association is conducting research at Van Andel Institute, at Hope College in Holland, and at the MSU College of Human Medicine downtown. Statewide, the AHA has funded over 100 studies totaling over $22 million. The Association is training individuals in the lifesaving skill of hands-only CPR and implementing cardiac emergency response plans in schools and working with free clinics across West Michigan to make sure people know how to measure their blood pressure and seek medical care when they need to. The AHA’s Have Faith in Heart program unites West Michigan faith leaders from primarily Black and Latinx churches to share educational resources to address health disparities in our community.
The American Heart Association’s broad mission impacts our lives every day. It relies on community donors, sponsors and volunteers to ensure we are building a future of healthy lives for all generations.
The organization holds events throughout the year that help drive its mission. Its next event is the Grand Rapids Heart Ball on Thursday, May 4 at the Goei Center, presented by the Cardiovascular Network of West Michigan, a partnership between University of Michigan Health-West and Trinity Health.
Follow the American Heart Association in West Michigan on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and support the cause all year long by donating here.