May Is Stroke Awareness Month

Recovering family enjoying the park
Terry Vine/Getty Images

May is National Stroke Awareness Month. On May 11,1989 President George H.W. Bush signed presidential proclamation 5975 declaring the month of May National Stroke Awareness Month.

National Awareness Months

Over the past 20 years or so, awareness months and recognition days for specific diseases have proliferated. What do these efforts achieve? They actually achieve a lot. Find out more about the objectives, the importance, and the accomplishments of National Stroke Awareness Month.

Compassion Towards Stroke Survivors

Stroke is a relatively common illness. Many stroke survivors are quietly struggling through life and often spend a lot of time in the shadows, heroically tackling disabilities. Appreciation and respect for what stroke survivors are going through every day can help stroke survivors as they navigate everyday life. A stroke survivor walking unusually slowly in a public place isn’t being difficult- even if she is slowing you down. A stroke survivor who can’t see out of one eye might not be able to read signs or function perfectly in a store or restaurant. One of the achievements of National Stroke Awareness Month is simply making others aware of and more tolerant towards the difficulties that stroke survivors around them are living with on a daily basis.

Recognition of Symptoms

Many stroke patients do not recognize the signs or symptoms when they are having a stroke because the symptoms are often strange and unfamiliar.

Stroke recognition is one of the primary objectives of National Stroke Awareness Month. Make sure you can recognize a stroke so you won't miss a stroke if it happens.

Knowing That a Stroke Is a Medical Emergency

A stroke is a medical emergency that requires urgent medical attention. People with stroke have significantly better long-term outcomes and more treatment options if they get to the hospital within 3 hours of symptoms onset.

Getting this message out to as many people as possible has been one of the successes of stroke awareness month.

Save Someone Else's Life

Many stroke patients can't call for help because a stroke can impair ability to speak, walk or make an emergency phone call. If you can recognize when someone else is having a stroke and call for emergency medical help, you can save a life.

Stroke Prevention

Awareness of risk factors is extremely important in stroke, particularly because most of the stroke risk factors are preventable or treatable. Medical risk factors include hypertension, heart disease, high cholesterol, blood clotting disorders and diabetes. All of these risk factors can be medically managed to reduce the risk of stroke. Lifestyle factors such as smoking, lack of exercise, stress and an unhealthy, high fat, high salt diet can lead to a stroke. Healthy habits such as a low salt, low fat diet, combined with moderate exercise and stress control can dramatically lower your risk of stroke.

  Preventing a stroke is one of the most effective ways to prolong your life.

Resources

There are a number of organizations dedicated to stroke awareness, research, stroke cure, education, stroke survivor resources, and fundraising. The National Stroke Association, The American Academy of Neurology, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, The Centers for Disease Control and the National Institute of Health all work towards reducing stroke and improving the lives of stroke survivors. Many of these organizations can direct you to local centers that work with stroke patients so that you can get the help you need.

Helping

You can make a difference in stroke. Learn how you can personally lend a helping hand to a stroke survivor.  You can contribute your time or your money to stroke care, stroke research or a specific stroke survivor need.

But, did you know that simply forwarding an article about stroke can help? Participate in National Stroke Awareness Month by spreading awareness. Forwarding one helpful link about stroke can help prevent stroke and make the lives of stroke survivors just a little better.

Sources:

Proclamation 5975 - National Stroke Awareness Month, 1989

Continue Reading