Habersham Medical Center urges community to be aware of stroke symptoms during May, National Stroke Awareness Month

May is National Stroke Awareness Month, and Habersham Medical Center is dedicated to educating the community to detect stroke signs and symptoms and to reduce your risk.

Have you ever said, “A stroke will never happen to me?” According to the National Stroke Association, “Approximately 795,000 strokes will occur this year, one occurring every 40 seconds, and taking a life approximately every four minutes.”  People suffer from strokes more than you think and they can happen to anyone, not just the elderly, which is a common misconception.

“Certain medical risks to having a stroke are uncontrollable such as being over the age of 55, having a family history, being a male, and having diabetes. However, there are certain risks that can be controlled such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, atrial fibrillation (AF), and carotid artery disease,” adds the National Stroke Association.

What is a stroke? A stroke can occur when a blood vessel carrying oxygen and vital nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or ruptures. When this occurs, part of the brain is deprived of blood and oxygen, destroying millions of valuable nerve cells within minutes. “The earlier a stroke is recognized and the patient receives medical attention, the greater chance of recovery,” says Teri Newsome, RN and Director of Quality at Habersham Medical Center.

If you suspect a stroke, remember the word FAST.

  • F is for face - is your face drooping?
  • A is for arms – can you lift both arms?
  • S is for speech – are you slurring your words?
  • T is for time. Call 9-1-1 immediately if you experience any or all of these signs.

 Common stroke symptoms include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg – especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Certified as a Primary Stroke Center, Habersham Medical Center has won numerous awards for excellence in stroke care such as the Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Quality Care Award. Habersham Medical Center also hosts a free stroke support group for stroke patients and their caregivers. For more information, visit www.habershammedical.com or call 706-754-2161.