A Grandmother gone too soon: American Stroke Month

May 7, 2014

While my son and I were living in Bogota, Colombia with my ex-husband, my Grandmother passed away. She suffered a series a strokes, and shortly after her mind and body failed.
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It was devastating for my family. My son was barely two, and he will never remember her. We were unable to get a flight that would return to the U.S. before the funeral. It was especially sad because the funeral had so many personal touches that my son might have been able to remember. Even knowing something about a person is better than not knowing anything about them at all. Often, you can choose casket colors and personalise other decorations at a funeral, so it can be nice to choose your loved one’s favourite colour and favourite flowers. My grandmother loved yellow, so we made sure her funeral was bright and full of yellow flowers. My son would have remembered that, even if he didn’t remember her.

My Grandmother with my brother, cousins, and I

In her honor, I would like to share some information regarding American Stroke Month and encourage people of all ages to look into affordable term life insurance. If a stroke is treated in a timely manner, many of the symptoms are reversible. There are a few key signs and symptoms you need to recognize. They have created an acronym called F.A.S.T..

F.A.S.T. stands for:

  • F – Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
  • A – Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • S – Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred? Are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence like: “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
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  • T- Time to call 9-1-1 – If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.

Facts about Strokes:
· Someone in the U.S. has a stroke about once every 40 seconds.
· Stroke is the No. 4 cause of death overall, killing more than 129,000 people a year. Stroke is the No. 3 cause of death for women and No. 5 cause of death for men.
· Stroke is the No. 1 preventable cause of disability.
· About 795,000 people have a stroke every year.
· An estimated 6.8 million Americans 20 and older have had a stroke.
· The insurance after experiencing a stroke can be very difficult to find so using companies like Special Risk Managers could get you the health insurance you need.

Stroke Warning Sign Knowledge and Treatment:
· One in three Americans can’t recall any stroke warning signs.
· According to a survey, Hispanic women are less likely than others to know most of the warning signs of a stroke – 25% did not know any, compared to 18% for whites and 19% for African Americans.
· In a study of patients who had experienced a stroke, someone other than the patient made the decision to seek treatment in 66% of the cases, or every two in three.

Watch this brief PSA about the symptoms of a stroke and F.A.S.T.

There is also a smartphone app:

The key to preventing death and permanent disability following a stroke is by acting fast. So, understanding the signs and symptoms of a stroke, and how to proceed thereafter could help to save a life, maybe even that of a loved one. However, if they survive the stroke but are now living with a permanent disability, obtaining insurance should be the next step. For example, in some cases, TPD insurance may be the best route to go down, and knowing what you need to do to secure this (so it doesn’t get denied) could be extremely important to how you live the rest of your life going forward.
So, please remember the acronym and encourage individuals to seek treatment right away.
Happy Timing Tuesday,