IDPH Recognizes Stroke Awareness Month
May 1st, 2013 by Ric Hanson
The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) joins national and local partners in recognizing May as Stroke Awareness Month. Approximately 60,000 Iowans were told by a doctor they had suffered a stroke in 2011, and while the death rate from stroke has been decreasing, stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in Iowa.
“The most recent data shows stroke causes 5 percent of all the deaths in Iowa – that’s about one stroke every six hours,” said IDPH Director, Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks. “Recognizing the symptoms of a stroke and acting quickly to get medical attention can save a life and limit disabilities.”
The signs of stroke are sudden and happen without warning. IDPH recommends you act F.A.S.T. if you or someone with you has the following symptoms:
- Face – Ask the person to smile. Does one part of the face droop? Does the person report sudden numbness in the face?
- Arms – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward? This is also true of legs. One leg may suddenly become weak or numb, or the person is unable to walk.
- Speech – Ask the person to speak. Is their speech slurred? Are they unable to speak? Can they correctly repeat a simple sentence? Do they respond to questions with answers that don’t make sense?
- Time – If the person shows any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately.
Additional signs of stroke include sudden confusion, sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes, sudden dizziness or loss of balance, and sudden severe headache with no known cause. If possible, remember when the individual last appeared normal and when the first stroke symptoms appeared. This is very important in determining the best treatment options and if certain medications can be used.
The IDPH Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention program has more information on stroke available at www.idph.state.ia.us/hpcdp/hdsp_home.asp.