May is American Stroke Month, an important campaign that aims to spread awareness of the signs of stroke. We were shocked to learn that 1 in 5 U.S. women can’t identify a single warning sign of a stroke, yet stroke is the third leading cause of death among women in the United States.
In a survey by the American Heart/Stroke Association of more than 1,200 women, only 51% of the women knew that sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the face, arms or legs is a warning sign of a stroke. Less than half knew that speech difficulty is also a stroke sign. Less than one-quarter of the women could identify other top stroke signs: sudden severe headache, unexplained dizziness, and sudden vision loss or vision loss in one eye.
Why is it so important to spot the symptoms? Every second counts when it comes to treating a stroke victim, the sooner someone suffering a stroke seeks medical attention, the less likely they will suffer permanent damage or death.
According to Dr. Keith Siller, medical director of the NYU Langone Stroke Treatment Center in New York City, “Women are less likely to take care of themselves because they often tend to take care of everyone else first. They are often the support beams… and they often don’t include themselves as someone who needs looking after.”
It’s not hard to learn the signs, the AMA urges people to spot and respond to stroke with the acronym F.A.S.T. Print this out, post it on your fridge, in your offices, and share it with friends: