Many people don’t know that strokes occur nearly as often as heart attacks do. And since May is National Stroke Awareness Month, we’re doing our part to share information that has the potential to save lives.
Blood’s Relation to Strokes
While there are different types of strokes, every type involves your blood’s interaction with your brain. If your brain is deprived of the oxygen your blood delivers, brain cells begin to die. When those cells are affected, brain damage occurs, which can lead to memory loss, muscle control loss or even death.
Get to Know the Warning Signs
Oftentimes, you cannot identify warning signs of stroke on your own. The best way to potentially save someone’s life is to get to know the warning signs and report them as quickly as possible when a stroke occurs. The American Stroke Association® has released an acronym—“FAST”—to help people remember these signs.
When a stroke occurs, a person might lose control of the muscles on one side of their face, or facial numbness can occur. If you suspect that someone is having a stroke, ask them to smile to test their muscles.
Another sign to look for is arm weakness. If someone is having a stroke, they may have trouble raising both arms at the same time.
If someone around you has slurred speech or stops making sense all of a sudden, the American Stroke Association® recommends asking them to repeat a simple sentence like “the sky is blue” to test their speech.
“T”—Time to Call 9-1-1
When a stroke occurs, time can mean the difference between life and death. The more time that passes, the more time there is for life-threatening damages to occur. So if you notice someone experiencing warning signs, call 911 immediately. Even if you’re not completely sure, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Other symptoms that can occur are sudden confusion, trouble seeing out of one or both eyes, or a sudden headache or dizziness.
Take Action in Your Community
Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States suffers from a stroke. But if we can all spread the word about warning signs, we can help stop this statistic from resulting in longterm disability or death. And if you make a blood donation to Carter BloodCare, you can help prevent strokes that occur in patients with Sickle Cell Anemia and other conditions that affect their blood.