World Stroke Day, Oct. 29, Raises Awareness of No. 2 Cause of Death

I know all too well the devastating effects of stroke. My father-in-law: avid hunter, fisherman and all around active guy…no longer do we take our annual fishing trip to New York for salmon, his balance and strength are no longer sufficient for the trip following his two strokes.

But what I also know is that 80 percent of strokes can be prevented with the right lifestyle choices, and it is also treatable and beatable when you act F.A.S.T. at the first signs of a stroke:

  • Face drooping
  • Arm weakness
  • Speech difficulty
  • Time to call 911

I know these warning signs inside and out, right? After all, I do work for the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association. Yet, when my father-in-law was in town visiting, I said to my husband, “Does your dad seem off to you?”My husband agreed, that yes, he wasn’t quite himself. He wasn’t as responsive, a little confused and so on. My father-in-law experienced one of his strokes during that visit. We didn’t see it. I didn’t see it. Clearly our work is not done–we need to continue to raise awareness on how to act F.A.S.T.

Join millions around the world in spreading the word about secondary stroke prevention and treatment. One day together can help fight stroke 365 days a year.

Brianne Ballard is senior director of communications and marketing for the American Heart Association.