Recognizing a Stroke this Stroke Awareness Month

May is recognized as Stroke Awareness Month. A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is blocked or a blood vessel in the brain bursts. In Virginia, every year more than 22,000 Virginians have a stroke. TIA, or transient ischemic attack, is a warning sign of a stroke where symptoms occur and quickly resolve. A person having a stroke or TIA needs to get to the hospital as soon as possible to receive life-saving treatment.

Warnings of sudden blood clot in head. Labeled list with reasons for health attention and ASAP ambulance. BE FAST scheme with isolated danger illness risk signs.

The most common signs of a stroke are:

  • problems with balance
  • eye or vision changes
  • facial droop
  • arm weakness
  • slurred speech

Stroke recognition materials are available to the public through the Stroke Smart Virginia webpage, which offers training videos and educational magnets for free. Stroke Smart Virginia is a partner with the VDH through the Paul Coverdell Stroke Program.

In 2023, the Fredericksburg YMCA began educating directors and managers on stroke recognition in collaboration with Mary Washington Hospital and VDH to provide stroke education at all four of its facilities. A concentrated effort was made in late 2023 to educate over 600 employees on stroke recognition and to call 911.

This education paid off when a trainer at the Rappahannock YMCA was working with a gym member and noticed that the man suddenly became weak on one side and was slurring his speech. Because the employee had received the VDH stroke education, he knew exactly what to do and called 911. Thanks to his quick actions, this gym member received immediate care at the hospital and had a successful recovery with no deficits.

You, too, can learn to spot a stroke and save a life.

Learn the signs and symptoms of stroke with Stroke Smart Virginia.