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May is National Stroke Awareness Month and we have a number of resources to share that are useful for patients, providers, and health professionals.

Learn YOUR Risk

What’s your risk for stroke? If you don’t know, you’re not alone. Stroke remains the No. 4 cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of disability.  Yet 80% of strokes can be prevented. It is important to note, African Americans have almost twice the risk of first-ever strokes compared to whites. As frightening as those statistics are, the good news is that the odds of preventing and beating this disease can improve by understanding the risks and taking simple steps to address them.

Take this stroke risk quiz and consider scheduling a check-up with your regular physician. Know your numbers, quit smoking, become physically active, and maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle, and you could significantly reduce your risk for stroke.

Learn the Signs and Symptoms of Stroke. Simply remember F.A.S.T.

F – Face Drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb?

A – Arm Weakness: Is one arm weak or numb?

S – Speech Difficulty: Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand?

T – Time to call 9-1-1: If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.

Pay Your Knowledge Forward

Tell your friends, families, and neighbors about National Stroke Awareness Month. Share the stroke risk quiz. Encourage loved ones to visit their healthcare providers. Share F.A.S.T. with everyone you know! 

Additional Resources for Patients and Providers

·         Eating more fruits, vegetables may cut stroke risk worldwide
Researchers found that stroke risk decreased by 32 percent with every 200 grams of fruit consumed daily and 11 percent with every 200 grams of vegetables consumed daily.

·         Together to End Stroke Patient Resources
Customizable educational materials for patients and hospitals, as well as Spot a Stroke F.A.S.T. campaign resources

·         Let’s Talk About Stroke Patient Resources
A series of downloadable patient information sheets that presents information in a question-and-answer format that's brief, easy to follow and easy to read. They also provide room for you to write down questions to ask your doctor. This can help you prepare to get the most out of your next visit with your healthcare professional.

·         Power to End Stroke

An education and awareness campaign that embraces and celebrates the culture, energy, creativity and lifestyles of Americans. It unites people to help make an impact on the high incidence of stroke within their communities.

·         African-Americans and Heart Disease, Stroke
Heart disease is the No. 1 killer for all Americans, and stroke is the fourth-leading cause of death. As frightening as those statistics are the risks of getting those diseases are even higher for African-Americans.

·         Hispanics and Heart Disease, Stroke

Hispanics and Latinos face higher risks of cardiovascular diseases because of high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes.

Additional Resources For Health Professionals

·         NIH Stroke Scale Training
A series of online cardiovascular and stroke continuing education courses

·         Stroke System of Care Success Stories
A clearinghouse of primary care and public health integration success stories features stories

o   Illinois Stroke Care and Awareness: Pact to Act FAST was an initiative of the Illinois Center for Rural Health, Illinois Department of Public Health, American Heart Association, critical access hospitals, and others to improve the quality and timeliness of stroke care in small rural hospitals.

o   Montana Connects Rural Communities to Stroke Specialists: The Montana Telestroke Initiative improves stroke care in rural communities by linking local hospitals to stroke specialists through audio/video connection. The program is a collaborative between the Cardiovascular Health Program, the Montana Health Research and Education Foundation, Kalispell Regional Medical Center, the Montana Stroke Initiative, various rural hospitals and a consortium of both in-state and out-of state neurologists.