May is National Stroke Awareness month

May is National Stroke Awareness Month. Almost 800,000 people in the United States have a stroke each year. In Montana, over 2,000 residents were hospitalized with a stroke and 458 died of a stroke in 2015.

Department of Public Health and Human Services Director Sheila Hogan said stroke is a leading cause of death and long-term adult disability, but it is preventable and treatable.

“Many people do not know their risk for stroke or how to recognize a stroke if it happens to them or someone they love,” she said. “A third of people having a stroke do not call 911, possibly preventing them from getting to the hospital in time for treatment. Know the signs and symptoms of stroke. Be ready to take immediate action by calling 911.”

Once 911 is called, the ambulance crew can begin care and alert the hospitals’ stroke team.

Since 2004, DPHHS has worked with hospitals and communities to raise Montanans’ awareness of stroke signs and symptoms and enhance rural hospitals’ ability to care for stroke patients.

Telestroke equipment in rural Montana hospitals connects patients to a stroke specialist during a stroke emergency. Clot-busting medication may limit the damage that stroke can cause, but the medication must be given within four and a half hours from the start of symptoms.


Sudden signs and symptoms of stroke

• Numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body

• Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding others

• Trouble seeing in one or both eyes

• Dizziness, loss of balance or trouble walking

• Severe headache with no known cause

For more information on stroke, see

If you or someone you know may be having a stroke, call 911 immediately.



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