June is Aphasia Awareness Month! Did you know that 180,000 people are diagnosed with aphasia every year in the United States? By 2020, it’s estimated that up to 2,000,000 people in the United States will have aphasia. People with aphasia have trouble with language—either speaking, understanding, reading, or writing—while their intelligence remains relatively intact. Although aphasia can occur as the result of any type of neurological damage, one of the most common causes is stroke.
Detecting a stroke early and getting medical help immediately can limit the amount of damage done, greatly improve a person’s chances of survival, and minimize the severity of aphasia or other disabilities. Unfortunately, the effects of a stroke can be subtle at first, so all too often people don’t get the help they need as early as they could. How can you tell if a person is having a stroke? Here is an easy way to remember the early warning signs of a stroke from the American Stroke Association. When someone is having a stroke, you need to act “F.A.S.T.”!
Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?
Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
Time to call 9-1-1 – If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared.
If you have any questions or would like to know more about speech-language therapy, give me a call at (212) 308-7725 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be happy to chat and answer any questions you may have.
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