- Stroke is the 4th leading cause of death in the US.
- Every 40 seconds, someone in America has a stroke.
- Up to 80% of strokes are preventable.
A stroke occurs in one of two ways: 1) a blood clot blocks the flow of blood through an artery in the brain, or 2) a blood vessel breaks interrupting the flow of blood to vital brain cells. In both situations, the brain doesn’t get the blood and oxygen it needs which can result in the death of brain cells. Depending on the extent of damage to the brain, a person may have problems with speech, memory, and movement after a stroke.
The National Stroke Association recommends using the FAST Test to detect signs of a stroke:
F – Face. Is one side of the face drooping or limp?
A – Arms. Can the person raise both arms? Does one arm seem limp or drift downward?
S – Speech. Is it slurred? Does it sound strange or not make sense?
T – Time. If you think someone may be experiencing a stroke, don’t wait – call 911 immediately.
Ways to reduce your risk of stroke:
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Control blood pressure.
- Don’t smoke.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Don’t abuse alcohol.
- Maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
- If you have diabetes, keep your glucose levels in control.
The American Stroke Association has a “Take 2 to Save 2” campaign that they are promoting now – take 2 minutes to share information that could save 2 lives. They have special emails, texts, facebook messages, and more that you can use to spread the word about stroke.
Want to do more for stroke research and awareness? Consider participating in the Train to End Stroke program. You can challenge yourself to training for a half or full marathon while raising money for a great cause. On a personal note, one of my good friends and I participated in this program in 2010 and it was by far one of the best experiences of my life. It was in this program that I was able to train for my first full 26.2 mile marathon in Maui (the photo below was in our hotel room right after the finish)! I raised over $5000 to support the American Stroke Association and was so proud of both my fundraising and athletic efforts during the program.