May is stroke awareness month. Do you know your risk?

By From the Heart | Catholic Culture

May 28

May is stroke awareness month. Do you know your risk? Could you spot a stroke if you or someone around you was showing symptoms?

A study conducted a few years ago showed that only 55.4% of people in Minnesota reported they knew what signs of a stroke were. I bet you’re thinking, “That’s not bad, it’s over half the state. ” However Minnesota has a population of 5.6 million, which means there are still 2.8 million people who would not be able to identify if they or someone around them were having a stroke.

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States; the sixth leading cause of death in the state of Minnesota, and is the #1 reason for disability in the United States!  Stroke claimed the lives of close to 2,200 Minnesotans in 2016.

Good news though! Strokes can be prevented and there are possible treatment options available when you seek immediate care when you notice symptoms. How can you remember what these signs are? Tell yourself to BEFAST 😊

B=Balance — a sudden change in your balance or sudden onset of dizziness

E=Eyes — a sudden change in your vision; blurry, fuzzy, double, unable to see from one eye

F=Face —facial weakness

A=Arms — arm or leg weakness, numbness, tingling

S=Speech — speech difficulties

T=Time to call 9-1-1; Time loss is brain loss. Seek immediate medical evaluation

Stroke is the leading preventable cause of disability. Know your risk and act on those risk factors that are in your control. Listed below are risk factors for stroke. The first that are listed are considered “non-modifiable” risk factors as these are out of your control.

  • Age — Male over 45 or Female over 55
  • Family history — your father, mother, brother or sister had a heart attack or stroke
  • You have coronary artery disease; had a heart attack; stroke
  • Irregular heartbeat know as Atrial Fibrillation
  • Smoke or live with someone who smokes
  • Diabetes or take medicine to control your diabetes
  • Bad cholesterol (LDL) is greater than 100 or you take medications to control your cholesterol levels
  • Blood pressure is greater than 140/90 and/or you take medications to control your blood pressure
  • Sleep Apnea
  • 20 pounds or more overweight
  • Activity level is less than 30 minutes a day most days of the week.

If you said yes to 2 or more, consider talking with your health care provider to determine what you can do to lower your risk for a stroke.

Take action and BEFAST to reduce your risk of having a stroke!

To share with Spanish-speaking friends, visit


American Stroke Association. (2019). Retrieved from
Every Second Counts. Best practices to improve coordinated stroke care for Emergency Medical Service Professionals.  MM Department of Health.  (2018)
Stroke in Minnesota. MN Department of Health. (May 15, 2019) Retrieved from

Angie Moscho is a Faith Community Nurse at Rich Spring Prairie Catholic Community since January 2019 and a Stroke Nurse at the St. Cloud Hospital for 19 years. Angie has been married to her husband, Nathan, for 16 years and together have 4 very active boys: Austin-15, Evan-13, Kameron-11 and Mason -9
“Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord.” Psalm 31:24


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