May marks National Stroke Awareness Month and St. Cloud Regional Medical Center is asking the public to look at their stroke risk factors and learn the warning signs of a stroke before it happens.

Strokes are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. and the leading cause of serious, long-term disability. Each year, more than 700,000 Americans suffer a stroke. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and someone dies of a stroke every four minutes. There are 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

According to the National Stroke Association, there are 10 modifiable risk factors that account for 90% of strokes globally.  Hypertension remains the single most important modifiable risk factor, accounting for nearly 48% of strokes. Eight in 10 people experience their first stroke having hypertension, making sure to get your blood pressure checked is an important first step in controlling your stroke risk. Those risks include Hypertension, Physical inactivity, Lipids (blood fats), Poor diet, Obesity, Smoking, Heart causes, Alcohol intake, Stress, and Diabetes.

St. Cloud Regional Medical Center was recently designated as a Primary Stroke Center, with a stroke care team that delivers potentially life-saving care for ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes and can perform different treatment options. St. Cloud Regional Medical Center has the technology, infrastructure, staff, and training to receive and treat patients of all ages with all types of strokes. St. Cloud Regional Medical Center’s nursing staff are NIHSS certified to respond quickly to stroke patients. St. Cloud Regional Medical Center‘s Emergency Room providers are also NIHSS certified to be aware of stroke symptoms so that in the case a stroke is happening they can quickly send the patient to Neurology that has 3 on-site neurologists.

The acronym FAST is an easy way to identify the most common symptoms of a stroke:

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 sentence. Is their speech slurred?

T – Time: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.

The time to take action is now. During National Stroke Awareness month, make it a personal goal to get to know your stroke risk factors and learn to better identify the signs and symptoms of a stroke.

For more information on Stroke Care or Emergency Services provided at St. Cloud Regional Medical Center, visit their stroke care page.