LANSING – In Michigan and the United States, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and is a major cause of long-term disability. To raise awareness and educate residents about ways to recognize, prevent and treat strokes, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is joining organizations across the country in recognizing October 29 as World Stroke Day.

There are 17 million strokes worldwide each year. In the United States, approximately 795,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke each year resulting in one of every 19 deaths.

“Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “World Stroke Day is an excellent reminder to focus on your health and consult with your physician regarding any concerns you may have.”

Healthy lifestyle behaviors include not smoking; getting regular physical activity; maintaining a healthy diet and body weight; and controlling cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar

Strokes occur when the blood supply to any part of the brain is disrupted. Without blood, brain cells may be damaged or die. Strokes can affect one’s body, mobility and speech, resulting in a significant impact on stroke survivors and their families. A stroke is a complex medical issue but there are ways to significantly reduce its impact. Recognizing the signs of stroke early, calling 911, and accessing specialized stroke care as quickly as possible can substantially improve outcomes.

If you think someone is having a stroke, do the FAST check to determine if the person is suffering from these symptoms:

Face – Face weakness

Arm – Arm weakness

Speech – Speech difficulties

Time – Time to call 911

MDHHS’ Michigan’s Ongoing Stroke Registry to Accelerate Improvement and Care (MOSAIC), is leading an effort to promote stroke awareness through the recognition of acute stroke victims and survivors. The color blue symbolizes the victims, while the color silver recognizes the survivors. All Michiganders are encouraged to wear these colors and ribbons to help raise awareness and spread the message that early recognition and care can make a difference. MOSAIC hospital and EMS partners serve as ambassadors for change in their communities and support efforts to recognize stroke and stroke survivors.

For more information about MOSAIC and stroke prevention, visit Michigan.gov/stroke.

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