Stroke Awareness Month

By: Alere Staff

Stroke can affect people of all different backgrounds and all ages. May is National Stroke Awareness month, so learn how to safeguard against stroke.

In the United States alone, almost 800,000 strokes occur each year. Stroke is the 4th leading cause of death in the US, with more than 133,000 victims dying in 2008. Stroke affects people of all ages, not only older adults. Nearly 25% of all strokes occur in people less than 65 years of age.1

The Department of Health and Human Services launched the Million Hearts™ campaign in 2011 which focuses on preventing a million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. The ABCS (outlined below) of Health are identifying people at risk for stroke and also helping to prevent Cardiovascular Disease. The primary focus of the ABCS is to prevent cardiovascular disease, including stroke, and improving a person’s overall health.

ABCS includes2:
  • Aspirin Therapy – ask your doctor if taking aspirin is right for you.
  • Blood Pressure Control – 50% of the world’s strokes are caused by elevated blood pressure levels
  • Cholesterol Management – work with your physician to monitor your cholesterol regularly. Follow your physician’s recommendation for diet, exercise and medication (if required).
  • Smoking Cessation – help is available by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW!

Regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, preventing or controlling diabetes and limiting alcohol intake along with the ABCS are a good start to lowering your risk for stroke. 

To help protect yourself and your loved ones, learn to recognize the signs of stroke. Act F.A.S.T. if you notice someone showing signs or symptoms of a stroke3:

Face drooping: Ask the Person to smile

Numbness or weakness in the face may show as drooping.


Arm weakness: Ask the Person to raise both arms

May have trouble walking or lifting arms, especially on one side of the body.


Speech difficulty: Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence

Trouble speaking, confusion or difficulty understanding.


Time: Time is important

Call 911 or get to a hospital fast.

For more information about the signs of stroke, check out our article Stroke Signs & Symptoms.

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. May is National Stroke Awareness Month. Article published May 1, 2012. Date accessed April 5, 2013.
  2. Department of Health and Human Services. Million Hearts. Date accessed April 5, 2013.
  3. National Stroke Association. Signs & Symptoms. Date accessed April 5, 2013.