Stroke Awareness and Mental Health Tips That May Improve Your Wellness
April 24, 2023
By Cindy Guede, AGCNS-BC, CNRN, Neurosurgery ARNP
May is a designated time for many important health observances, making it the perfect opportunity to refocus on your overall wellness and prioritize healthier habits. An important part of improving your health means paying attention to both your physical and mental well-being. And this month, there are two major health observances that are a great reminder to do just that: Stroke Awareness Month and Mental Health Month.
Stroke Awareness Month
Suffering from a stroke can be deadly. In fact, stroke is the number five cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the U.S. But did you know that 80 percent of strokes are actually preventable? High blood pressure, uncontrolled diabetes, and high cholesterol are all risk factors. So, always know your numbers and talk to your primary care provider about how to lower and keep your blood pressure at healthy levels.
Knowing the symptoms of a stroke is often the first line of defense in getting proper care. Some symptoms of stroke include sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arms or legs – especially on one side of the body; confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech; trouble seeing in one or both eyes; trouble walking, dizziness or loss of balance and coordination; and a severe headache with no known cause. One of the best ways to recognize a stroke is by familiarizing yourself with the B.E.F.A.S.T. warning signs:
- B – Balance. Watch for sudden loss of balance.
- E – Eyes. Check for vision loss.
- F – Face Drooping. Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the smile uneven?
- A – Arm Weakness. Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- S – Speech Difficulty. Is the person’s speech slurred?
- T – Time to call 9-1-1.
If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of stroke, time is of the essence. Dial 9-1-1 immediately to get connected to the proper care. You can help prevent stroke by making healthy lifestyle choices, including managing your blood pressure, blood sugar control and walking 20 minutes per day, and working with your health care team to control health conditions that raise your risk for stroke. For more information about stroke warning signs, prevention and recovery, visit https://www.stroke.org/.
Mental Health Month
When it comes to overall health, it can be easy to focus exclusively on physical health – like staying up to date on annual exams and screenings, exercising regularly and eating healthily. But your mental health also has a profound impact on your overall well-being. With millions of Americans experiencing mental health concerns each year, it’s more important than ever to join together and advocate for improving our nation’s mental health resources. That’s why Mental Health Awareness Month is observed each May and serves as a designated time to fight mental health stigmas, provide support, educate the public and advocate for policies that support individuals with mental illness.
It’s important to understand that mental health conditions are actually quite common. According to statistics published by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five U.S. adults experiences mental illness, and one in 20 adults experiences serious mental illness. So, if you are struggling to maintain good mental health, know that you are not alone. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re suffering from a mental health condition. Seeking professional help and treatment can make a positive difference in your overall health and quality of life.
In addition to seeking professional care, there are some easy steps you can take to improve your mental wellness. Visit https://www.mhanational.org/31-tips-boost-your-mental-health for 31 tips from Mental Health America that are sure to boost your mental well-being.
If you would like to speak to a provider about your stroke risk factors or your mental wellness, Trios Health can help. Call 509.794.2117 to schedule an appointment today. In the event of a stroke emergency, always call 9-1-1. Minutes matter, and acting quickly may save a life, including your own.