Forgetting where you put your keys? Having trouble remembering words? Experiencing your usual migraines? Making the same excuse over and over? “Oh, it’s just age.” Well, stop it, now! It’s Stroke Awareness Month and time to power up with the facts once and for all.
This is outrageous! According to the National Stroke Association…
- Strokes kill twice as many women than breast cancer each year!
- More women are affected by stroke than men, with women accounting for a whopping 60% of stroke deaths!
- Stroke is the number 4 cause of death and the leading cause of adult disability in the US. And, for minority women the facts are worse!
- One half of all Black women will die from stroke or heart disease. Read that again!
- The rate of first strokes in Blacks is almost double that of Whites and strokes tend to occur earlier in life for Blacks.
- Stroke is the leading cause of death for Hispanic women!
- If you think strokes only happen to the elderly, think again. Women can have a stroke at ANY age!
Scared? You better be! Even though, it’s extremely challenging to face the realities of our own health, let alone our own mortality, it’s imperative that you do! It wasn’t easy for me to step back, assess my own health and take control for positive healthy change. Yet, I did! I’m here today because I decided to empower myself to lose weight, eat right, exercise and be responsible for ME! Listen, ladies, I’m here for you – as a woman and a Black woman, who was on the fast track to having a stroke, I implore you to take control of your health now!
My work as a National Volunteer for the American Heart Association provides me with the incredible opportunity to encourage and empower you to live the best lives you can possibly live for overall life success, providing the knowledge and awareness necessary to love your heart to help your brain. Unhealthy behavior along with high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking and obesity can all lead to narrowing of the blood vessels, which reduces blood flow to the brain, leading to hardening of the arteries of the heart and brain, causing stroke. Just as heart attack symptoms may differ between men and women, so do stroke risks. That’s why I’m pleased to announce that the AHA has released new guidelines for stroke awareness that are more gender specific, focusing on birth control, pregnancy, depression and other unique risk factors for women, so please read them and “Get with the Guidelines” now! And, make sure you recognize the signs of stroke. It’s easy. All you have to do is think F.A.S.T.
F – Face Drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile even?
A – Arm Weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does the arm drift downward?
S – Speech Difficulty: Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like, “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
T – Time to Call 911: If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 911 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared.
Yes, stroke is a women’s issue and increasing awareness will work to save more lives than ever before. But, you need to have the courage to stand strong and rise to the challenge of taking control of your own health by controlling your blood pressure and diabetes, quitting smoking, exercising more and eating a healthy diet. Remember: What helps your heart helps your brain! Following a heart-healthy lifestyle can lower your chances of having a stroke, plus it can also make a big difference in your mental abilities as you age.
Our Year of Action continues with the power to end stroke! And, when you think stroke, remember that we have each other to Stand Together with Resources and Our Knowledge to End stroke because…
She who has health has hope, and she who has hope has everything!
And, I’ll keep telling you that until you do!
How do you plan to prevent, treat and beat stroke? Share your comments below.