National Stroke Association's 2012 Faces of Stroke Ambassadors, from left: Dick Burns, Charles Louis, Bailey Carlson, Lenice Hogan. (PRNewsFoto/National Stroke Association)
Do you recognize the faces in the photo above?
Would it surprise you to learn that these are the faces of stroke victims? Stroke can happen to anyone regardless of age, race, or gender. Stroke kills more than 133,000 people a year. Many people don't realize that up to 80 percent of strokes can be prevented by working with a healthcare professional to manage risk.
National Stroke Association's Faces of Stroke public awareness campaign aims to change the public perceptions of stroke through education and personal stories of those impacted by the fourth leading cause of death. Throughout May's National Stroke Awareness Month, these four campaign ambassadors will begin educating the communities they live in about important life-saving stroke information.
A stroke is a brain attack that occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery or a blood vessel breaks, interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain.
Controllable Stroke Risk Factors
High blood pressure
Tobacco use and smoking
Uncontrollable Stroke Risk Factors
Age (over 55)
Gender (Women have more strokes each year than men, mostly because women live longer and stroke occurs more often as we age. About 55,000 more women than men have strokes each year, but stroke incidence is higher in men than women at younger ages.)
Race (African-American, Hispanic or Asian/Pacific Islander)
Family history of stroke
Previous stroke or TIA
Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO or Hole in the Heart)
Symptoms of Stroke
Common symptoms of stroke symptoms in both men and women:
Sudden numbness or weakness of 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
Additional stroke symptoms reported in women:
Sudden face and limb pain
Sudden general weakness
Sudden chest pain
Sudden shortness of breath
Stroke is an emergency. Recognizing warning signs can be easy if you remember to think FAST:
F = Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A = Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S = Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Does the speech sound slurred or strange?
T = Time: If you observe any of these signs it's time to call 9-1-1.