Heart disease, diabetes and stroke are the number one, seventh and fifth causes of death for Americans, respectively. Every 36 seconds an American loses their life to heart disease, and every four minutes an American dies of stroke. While there is some awareness around risk factors of heart disease, information around stroke is less widely known. Like heart disease, certain risk factors are within our control and some are not. Controllable risk factors include high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, poor circulation, lack of physical activity and obesity.
In addition to learning how to prevent stroke, it is equally as important to learn the signs of stroke because every second counts. In May, the Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes Coalition of Indiana (CADI) had the opportunity to hear from longtime CADI member, Ruth Rench about stroke. Rench shared that many stroke awareness organizations have adopted the “BE FAST” acronym as a way to help people identify when someone is having a stroke. Each letter in “BE FAST” refers to a different symptom of stroke and can mean the difference between a full recovery and brain damage: balance, eyes, face, arms, speech and time.
World Stroke Day on October 29 is the perfect opportunity to do your part in increasing awareness and education about stroke. By sharing resources from organizations such as the American Stroke Association or producing your own social media campaign using the World Stroke Day Toolkit, we as a community can make an impact on stroke. For more information on upcoming events and how you can be involved in CADI, please contact Aliya Amin at firstname.lastname@example.org.