May is Stroke Awareness Month. It aims to raise awareness of the risk factors and symptoms of stroke and raise funds for stroke research. A person can get involved by using the #StrokeMonth hashtag, creating fundraisers, or donating.

A stroke occurs when a person’s brain receives insufficient blood. A lack of oxygen and nutrients can cause brain cell death, resulting in serious neurological problems.

A 2022 review notes that strokes are the second most common cause of death worldwide. They are also the most common cause of disability. In the United States, around 800,000 strokes occur every year.

Stroke Awareness Month aims to improve the public’s understanding of the causes and symptoms of a stroke. Increased awareness may help reduce stroke numbers and improve health outcomes.

This article explains the importance of Stroke Awareness Month and a person can get involved.

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Stroke Awareness Month occurs annually in May. Its official hashtag is #StrokeMonth.

During May, campaigners aim to raise awareness of the signs and risk factors of stroke. They use social media, television, and print media to convey their messages. Charities, such as the Stroke Association, also use Stroke Awareness Month to raise funds for research.

Is there a stroke awareness ribbon?

People can show support for Stroke Awareness Month by pinning a purple ribbon to their clothing.

Learn more about stroke.

There are several ways a person can participate during Stroke Awareness Month, including the below.

Social media

A 2022 study notes that Stroke Awareness Month has had relatively little social media coverage. Sharing social media posts is an easy way to take part and show support for the campaign.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide a stroke communications kit with a wide choice of premade social media messages and images for people to share.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) also offers a video about stroke signs that individuals can share on social media.

Campaigning and research

The American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Stroke Association (ASA) share resources and explain how people can take part by campaigning during Stroke Awareness Month. This could include joining advocacy groups or teaching healthy habits to others in their community.

The NINDS also provides a stroke community education toolkit that people can use to teach others about stroke, available in English and Spanish.

Attending CPR training and encouraging others to do the same also contributes to the aims of Stroke Awareness Month and could save lives.

People may also wish to take part in research — the ASA hopes to create the world’s largest study into heart health, particularly involving females.

Donating and Fundraising

The AHA/ASA also discusses the possibility of donating or fundraising to a stroke charity, such as the American Stroke Foundation (ASF). These organizations use the money to raise awareness, fund research, or help people who have experienced a stroke.

Strokes can occur for different reasons. Ischemic strokes develop when a blood clot blocks a vein or artery within the brain. Conversely, hemorrhagic strokes occur when a blood vessel bursts inside the brain. Additionally, ischemic strokes can sometimes go on to cause hemorrhagic strokes.

Risk factors

Stroke has links to the following risk factors:

Stroke symptoms

Strokes cause various symptoms, which can occur very suddenly. They include:

  • confusion
  • difficulties with speaking or understanding speech
  • weakness or numbness in the face, or an extremity, often on one side of the body
  • dizziness
  • loss of balance or coordination
  • difficulties walking
  • vision problems, which may affect one eye or both
  • a severe headache

Strokes can be life threatening. Anyone with symptoms of a stroke should seek medical attention immediately. If someone nearby is having a stroke, a person needs to call 911.

Learn about the signs of stroke in females and in males.

There is information and support available for people affected by stroke. The ASF aims to improve the quality of life for those who have experienced a stroke. It also provides valuable information for caregivers.

Further resources are available at the ASA and CDC websites.

A stroke is a serious medical emergency resulting from insufficient blood reaching areas of the brain.

May is Stroke Awareness Month. It aims to reduce deaths and serious injury from stroke by educating the public about common risk factors and signs. Campaigners also use the month to raise funds for stroke research.

People can spread the word about Stroke Awareness Month by using the #StrokeMonth hashtag, sharing social media posts, or wearing a purple ribbon. They can also donate money, organize fundraisers, and get involved in campaigning.