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May is National Stroke Awareness Month to help educate the public about the critical need for fast action when signs of a stroke are apparent. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States. It is also a leading cause of serious long-term disability. About 795,000 strokes occur in the United States each year, and about 610,000 of these are first or new strokes.

While 75% of strokes occur in people aged 65 years or older, strokes can occur at any age. People with a family history of stroke have a higher risk. According to the American Heart Association, stroke will cost almost $73.7 billion in both direct and indirect costs in 2010.

Knowing the symptoms of stroke and calling 9-1-1 immediately if someone appears to be having a stroke are crucial steps in getting prompt emergency medical care for a stroke. New treatments are available that can reduce the damage caused by a stroke for some victims, but these treatments need to be given soon after the symptoms start.

The American Stroke Association notes these five major signs of stroke:

•Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.

•Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.

•Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.

•Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance and coordination.

•Sudden, severe headache with no known cause.

For more information on proper diagnosis of stroke visit our webpage at

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