Get Symptom Savvy for National Stroke Awareness Month in May

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Immediate medical attention saves lives, reduces chronic disability and improves outcomes.

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of long-term disability, according to the National Stroke Association (NSA). May is National Stroke Awareness Month, and the NSA is helping community groups and other organizations—including Allsup, a nationwide provider of Social Security Disability Insurance representation services—educate the public on stroke prevention, symptoms and the importance of immediate medical care.

Up to 80 percent of strokes are preventable and the NSA has developed prevention guidelines to help individuals lower their risks for a first stroke.

Allsup team members work with hundreds of stroke victims and their caregivers each year and understand the physical and financial impacts the disease can have on individuals and their families. The types and degrees of disability that follow a stroke depend upon which area of the brain is damaged. Generally, stroke can cause five types of disabilities: paralysis or problems controlling movement; sensory disturbances including pain; problems using or understanding language; problems with thinking and memory; and emotional disturbances. The estimated cost of stroke from 2005 to 2050 will exceed $2 trillion with most of this cost related to disabled survivors’ loss of earnings. (1)

The good news is that emergency treatment lessens chronic disability for many people who do have a stroke. However, most people do not seek emergency care immediately. Reasons for the delay, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, include:

  •     Inability to recognize stroke symptoms.
  •     Stroke victims or bystanders may decide to take care of the problem on their own and delay seeking medical care.
  •     A stroke can impair cognition and judgment and limit mobility, speech, or vision, preventing one’s ability to seek help.
  •     Stroke may occur during sleep.

These factors underscore the importance of knowing stroke symptoms and getting immediate medical attention. Stroke symptoms include:

Sudden numbness or weakness of 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, loss of balance or coordination.
Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

The NSA encourages you to act F.A.S.T and call 9-1-1 at the sign of any of these symptoms. Allsup is supporting Stroke Awareness Month with free posters listing stroke warning signs, available online at or by calling Karen Hercules-Doerr at (800) 854-1418, ext. 5770.

Allsup is a nationwide provider of Social Security disability, Medicare and workers’ compensation services for individuals, employers and insurance carriers. Founded in 1984, Allsup employs more than 600 professionals who deliver specialized services supporting people with disabilities and seniors so they may lead lives that are as financially secure and as healthy as possible. The company is based in Belleville, Ill., near St. Louis. For more information, visit

(1) D. L. Brown, B. Boden-Albala, K. M. Langa. Lisabeth,, M. Fair, M. A. Smith, R. L. Sacco, L. B. Morgenstern. Projected costs of ischemic stroke in the United States, NEUROLOGY 2006;67:1390-1395, © 2006 American Academy of Neurology.

Karen Hercules-Doerr
(800) 854-1418 ext 5770    

Carol Monge
National Stroke Association
(303) 754-0909


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Karen Hercules-Doerr

Carol Monge
National Stroke Association
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