Hi, my name is Amanda Chesser and I am an
occupational therapist at Southern Indiana Rehabilitation Hospital, and May is Stroke
Awareness Month. Currently, strokes are the fifth leading cause of death, and the leading cause of adult disability in the U.S. But thankfully, strokes are largely treatable,
and 80% of strokes are preventable. A stroke is a brain attack. It can happen to anyone
at any time, and occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off. When this happens brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die. When brain cells die during
stroke, abilities controlled by that area of the brain, such as memory and muscle control,
are lost. Stroke is an emergency, and getting treatment is extremely important. The acronym
B.E. F.A.S.T is used to help recognize a stroke. The “B” stands for Balance. Is your loved
one having trouble when they stand up? Are they having trouble when they’re walking, are they falling over or falling to one side or the other? “E” is for Eyes. Are they having
any complaints of double or blurry vision? “F” is for Face. You may notice one side of
their face drooping more than the other. “A” is for Arms. When you ask them to raise their
arms up is one arm raising at a slower rate or a slower speed than the other? And “S” is for Speech. Are they having any slurred speech? The last one, “T” is for Time, which is one of the most important, because time to immediately call for an ambulance and get
the person to a certified stroke center. Make sure to have a discussion with your doctor.
If you have any of these medical risk factors such as AFib, high cholesterol, or high blood
pressure, they could be an indication for stroke. Lifestyle risk factors such as smoking,
limited physical activity, or obesity are also risk factors. Uncontrollable risk factors such as your gender, ethnicity or age might also put you at more risk. And the best news is that with education and the identification of risk factors, 80% of strokes are preventable. Here at SIRH our goal is to help you achieve the highest level of independence by improving your physical, mental and emotional functions.