May is National Stroke Awareness Month, and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) is working on the front lines to educate people about the risks of stroke, along with life-saving prevention strategies that could save as many as 640,000 lives next year alone.
Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and the leading cause of disability in the United States. Every year, nearly 800,000 people suffer a stroke, yet nearly 80 percent of strokes are preventable.
“While the risk of stroke increases with age, strokes are particularly on the rise among young people,” said AANP President Cindy Cooke, DNP, FNP-C, FAANP. “Prevention starts with understanding the risks and working with your provider to manage the factors we can control, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.”
When a stroke does occur, early recognition of the symptoms and immediate treatment are critical. The acronym FAST is a simple way to remember the most common warning signs:
- FACE: Does one side of the face droop?
- ARMS: When raising both arms, does one drift downward?
- SPEECH: Is speech slurred or strange?
- TIME: Act immediately, call 9-1-1 if any of these symptoms occur
“Only 38 percent of Americans are aware of the major stroke symptoms and know to get immediate help,” said Cooke. “The faster people recognize symptoms and seek treatment – ideally within three hours of the first signs– the better the outcomes.”
AANP has partnered with the National Stroke Association and the Million Hearts® campaign to raise awareness of stroke risk and encourage patients to seek quality preventive treatment and critical acute care when symptoms are detected. If you are concerned about your stroke risk, visit your nurse practitioner to discuss a prevention plan. It could save your life.
The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), the largest professional membership organization for nurse practitioners (NPs) of all specialties, represents the interests of the more than 222,000 licensed NPs in the U.S. As The Voice of the Nurse Practitioner®, AANP provides legislative leadership at the local, state and national levels, advancing health policy; promoting excellence in practice, education and research; and establishing standards that best serve NP patients and other health care consumers. To locate a nurse practitioner, go to npfinder.com. For more information about NPs, visit aanp.org.
SOURCE American Association of Nurse Practitioners