May is National Stroke Awareness Month. Every 40 seconds, someone has a stroke, and every 4 minutes someone dies from this, a leading cause of death and disability in the United States. Strokes often lead to serious, life-changing complications that may include paralysis or weakness on one side of the body, problems comprehending or forming speech, and even depression. Patients with multiple (two or more) chronic conditions like high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation (AFib), and diabetes, for example, are at particular risk. Enrolling patients in chronic care management and having a comprehensive care plan can help clinicians be more aware of patient risks before any acute episode or functional decline.
Symptoms may include dizziness, or loss of balance, numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, or difficulty speaking. One way to look out for stroke symptoms is to remember F.A.S.T.
- Face - Uneven smile
- Arm - Arm weakness or numbness
- Speech - Slurred speech or difficulty talking
- Time - You have to act quickly — call 911 immediately