The National Stroke Association has devoted the month of May to promoting the awareness for the symptoms of stroke. To receive treatment quickly, it’s important to be able to recognize the symptoms of a stroke. In 1989, President George H.W. Bush proposed May as National Awareness Month.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), stroke is a leading cause of death in the United States and kills over 100,000 people annually. Medical advances have aided in the reduction of deaths over the years, however there are some risk factors that are not able to be changed.

Risk Factors

  • Race – African-Americans are at a higher risk, due to also being at high risk for diabetes and high blood pressure
  • Gender – Women are at greater risk for stroke. Factors that increase risks in women include post-menopausal hormone therapy, pregnancy, oral contraceptive use, and gestational diabetes
  • Age – Age increases the risk of having a stroke, although children and even babies can have a stroke
  • Family History – If a family member such as parent, grandparent, or sibling has had a stroke, you are at a greater risk of also having a stroke. Genetic disorders that block blood to the brain can also cause a stroke


  • Anyone, no matter his/her age, is at risk for stroke
  • A stroke occurs when a clot disrupts blood flow to the brain and kills brain cells
  • Approximately 1 in 4 stroke survivors is at risk of having another stroke, however up to 80% of all strokes can be preventable
  • Approximately 800,000 Americans have a stroke annually
  • There are 3 types of stroke: (1) Hemorrhagic – caused by a rupture; (2) Ischemic – caused by a clot; (3) Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) – Also known as a “mini stroke” – caused by a temporary blockage
The National Stroke Association has devoted the month of May to promoting the
awareness for the symptoms of stroke.


The American Stroke Association and the American Heart Association recommend following “Life’s Simple 7” tips. These are risk factors that individuals can improve through specific lifestyle changes that will lead to a healthier and more productive overall health.

  • Reduce blood sugar
  • Get physically active
  • Control cholesterol
  • Don’t smoke
  • Manage a healthy blood pressure
  • Eat better (healthy diet)
  • Lose weight/maintain a healthy weight

The goal of National Stroke Awareness Month is to educate about the risks, signs, and effects of stroke. When it comes to strokes, the sooner you get treatment, the better chance you have for recovery.