May is American Stroke Month and National High Blood Pressure Education Month. The American Heart Association/Stroke Association (AHA/ASA) is on a mission to help people control their blood pressure and reduce stroke incidence. Get free resources online at www.strokeassociation.org/strokemonth.
Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, and a leading cause of preventable disability. More than 7 million American adults have had a stroke. Prevention of high blood pressure, or hypertension, can help prevent strokes. Knowing the signs of stroke and getting victims emergency care quickly can help save lives.
A stroke can happen to anyone at any time, from children to adults, men and women. African Americans are most likely to die from stroke, and stroke death rates in Hispanics rose 5.8 percent each year from 2013 to 2015.
What causes stroke? High Blood Pressure is the most common controllable cause of stroke. Checking blood pressure regularly is an important part of keeping high blood pressure controlled. Also, many people with high blood pressure don’t even know they have it. The American Stroke Association wants you know your blood pressure numbers and “CheckIt” this month.
Under new American Heart Association guidelines announced in 2017, the definition of high blood pressure is lower, and the number of U.S. adults considered to have high blood pressure has increased. Younger people are impacted the most, as high blood pressure has tripled among men under 45 and doubled among women in the same age group. Hypertension Stage 1 is now 130 systolic (top number) or 80 diastolic (bottom number). This ten-point drop will help identify high blood pressure at the earliest stages to help prevent damage to arteries and organs.
High blood pressure is often symptomless and can be a “silent killer” at any age — and the only way to know your risk is to have your blood pressure checked. Review the categories at heart.org/bplevels to understand what your numbers mean.
Using medications as prescribed and making positive lifestyle changes like exercising 30 minutes daily and reducing dietary sodium, can help keep blood pressure in the healthy range, and reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and more, according to the ASA. Learn more about healthier lifestyles at www.heart.org/gettinghealthy.
The American Stroke Association’s Together To End Stroke® initiative, nationally sponsored by Medtronic, is dedicated to elevating awareness of the most common warning signs and symptoms of stroke by teaching the acronym F.A.S.T., (F)ace drooping, (A)rm weakness, or (S)peech difficulty, it’s (T)ime to call 911.
Acting F.A.S.T. will make a difference in someone’s quality of life and can help save a life. Learn more at www.strokeassociation.org/strokemonth.