American Academy of Emergency Medicine

Do You Know the Signs of a Stroke? Increase Your Awareness this May

May 1, 2013

Do You Know the Signs of a Stroke? Increase Your Awareness this May

MILWAUKEE — Do you know the signs of a stroke? May is National Stroke Awareness Month, and the American Academy of Emergency Medicine encourages you to brush up on your awareness of recognizing stroke symptoms and knowing what steps to take in case of that emergency.

According to the National Stroke Association, approximately 795,000 strokes will occur this year, one occurring every 40 seconds, and taking a life approximately every four minutes. Stroke can happen to anyone at any time, regardless of race, sex, or age. In light of these facts, it is vital for everyone to be able to recognize the symptoms and know the correct steps to take.

A stroke results from vital blood flow and oxygen to the brain being cut off, typically due to a blockage or bleeding in the brain. In the United States, stroke is the fourth leading cause of death, killing over 133,000 people each year, and a leading cause of serious, long-term adult disability.

Common symptoms of a stroke are the sudden onset of:

  • Weakness or numbness of the arm, leg, or, face — particularly when limited to one side of the body
  • Trouble speaking or understanding
  • Trouble walking or loss of coordination
  • Loss of vision

If a stroke is suspected, you should call 911 immediately to activate the EMS system for the patient. Some of the potential treatments for stroke are only safe and appropriate within certain time limitations, so it is important to note the exact time that the symptoms began.

According to Mark Reiter, MD MBA FAAEM, vice president of AAEM, “a healthy lifestyle is the most important intervention you can do to reduce your risk of stroke — particularly maintain a healthy diet, regular exercise, and good management of chronic medical problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes.”

It is our goal as emergency physicians to not only be experts in how to treat this condition, but also to play an active role in educating the public by encouraging awareness of stroke. Awareness leads to earlier detection and better outcomes for those affected.

For more information on strokes and stroke prevention tips, visit the National Stroke Association website at www.stroke.org.

For more information about AAEM, our mission, and programs, please visit our website at www.AAEM.org.


The American Academy of Emergency Medicine (AAEM) is the specialty society in emergency medicine today. As an organization, AAEM believes achievement of board certification represents the only acceptable method of attaining recognition as a specialist in emergency medicine.

For more information, please visit www.aaem.org or call 800-884-2236.