MARION COUNTY, Fla. — May is Stroke Awareness Month and the Marion County Department of Health wants residents to know the importance of knowing risk factors, symptoms and prevention tips for strokes.
Strokes are the fifth-leading cause of death and a major cause of serious disability for adults in both Florida and the nation.
The risk of having a stroke increases as we get older, but a stroke can happen at any age.
According to the most recent Florida Department of Health data, Marion County had the fourth-lowest death rate for strokes among Florida’s 67 counties.
However, the county’s hospitalization rate for strokes exceeds the statewide rate and has done so for the last 14 years, according to a news release.
“While we are fortunate that our community has a relatively low death rate from stoke, other data shows that a stroke is an issue we must take seriously,” said Mark Lander, administrator of the Department of Health in Marion County. “For that reason, it is critical that people are able to recognize the symptoms of a stroke and understand that a stroke is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention.”
A stroke is no different from any other medical condition and prevention can make all the difference.
According to StrokeAssociation.org, some steps you can take to prevent a stroke include:
o Monitor your blood pressure
o Control your cholesterol
o Keep your blood sugar down
o Stay active
o Eat healthier
o Lose weight, if necessary
o Don’t smoke
o Avoid excessive alcohol consumption
Talk to your health care provider if you have questions about other preventative measures, including a regimen of regular consumption of aspirin.
The most important part of getting timely treatment for a stroke is to know and understand the warning signs as described by the B.E. F.A.S.T. acronym.
B - Balance - Is the person suddenly having trouble with balance or coordination?
E - Eyes - Is the person experiencing suddenly blurred or double vision or a sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes without pain?
F - Face - Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
A - Arms - Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S - Speech - Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence like, “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
T - Time - If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, it’s time to call 911 and get them to the hospital immediately.
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