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May Is American Stroke Month

What Is a stroke?

Stroke is the 4th cause of death and a leading cause of serious, long-term disability in America. It occurs when a blood vessel bringing blood and oxygen to the brain gets blocked or ruptures and brain cells don’t get the flow of blood that they need. Stroke affects people of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds. Some people--specifically women, African Americans, people with high blood pressure, and people with physical or cognitive disabilities--have a higher risk of stroke. Fortunately, most strokes are preventable and we all can take steps now to avoid having a stroke.

Know Your Risk Factors – Know Your Score

Did you know up to 80% of all strokes are preventable? Research has shown that you can reduce your stroke risk by living a healthy lifestyle — controlling high blood pressure; not smoking; eating a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet/being physically active; maintaining a healthy body weight; managing diabetes; and drinking alcohol moderately or not at all.

Is It a stroke? Act F-A-S-T!

Learn to recognize a stroke. Time lost is brain lost. There are treatments that may reduce the risk of damage from the most common type of stroke, but only if you get help quickly — within three hours of the first symptoms. Know what to look for:


  • Does the face look uneven?
  • Ask them to smile.


  • Does one arm drift down?
  • Ask them to raise both arms.


  • Does their speech sound strange?
  • Ask them to repeat a phrase.


  • Every second, brain cells die.
  • Call 911 at ANY sign of a stroke!


  • If a person shows any of these signs, immediately dial 911 and have them taken to the nearest emergency room.

Stroke Resource Center

Advocate Health Care hospitals currently certified by the Joint Commission as Primary Stroke Centers:

Learn more about different types of strokes, risk factors for stroke and stroke prevention.

View or print related stroke materials

Additional Resources

American Heart Association

National Stroke Association

American Stroke Association

National Institute of Neurological Disorders & Stroke

Fast Facts

  • An estimated 795,000 Americans have strokes every year.
  • Stroke is the leading cause of serious, long term disability.
  • Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the US.
  • Every 40 seconds someone experiences a stroke.
  • About 55,000 more women than men suffer a stroke each year.
  • Blacks have almost twice the risk of first-ever stroke compared to whites.
  • Estimated cost of stroke in 2010: $73.6 BILLION.

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