Piedmont Macon to Host 'Stroke Stroll' on Thursday, May 16

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Tuesday, May 14th, 2024

Strokes affect nearly 800,000 people in the United States each year.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, strokes are the fifth-leading cause of death in the country, taking a life every three minutes and 14 seconds. They happen when the blood supply to the brain is blocked or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts.

On May 16 at noon, Piedmont Macon Medical Center invites stroke survivors across Middle Georgia to participate in the 2024 “Stroke Stroll,” a celebration of stroke survivors. Survivors are encouraged to bring family and friends to cheer them on during the event, which will take place in the cafeteria of the hospital at 350 Hospital Drive.

Immediately after the stroll, stroke survivors, their family members, caregivers and friends are invited to stay for Piedmont Macon’s “Strive from Stroke” support group meeting. The group meets from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in the cafeteria on the third Thursday of each month. It allows open dialogue among survivors and features education and awareness speakers and activities.

Knowing the signs of a stroke and taking immediate action can often lead to better recovery outcomes for those who suffer a stroke. In general, the key to optimal recovery and decreasing the chances of long-term disability is the acronym B.E.F.A.S.T.:

  • Balance – Is there trouble with balance or coordination?

  • Eyes – Has the person experienced blurred, double, or loss of vision?

  • Face – Look for an uneven smile.

  • Arm – Check if one arm or leg is weak or just “doesn’t feel right.”

  • Speech – Listen for slurred speech or trouble finding words.

  • Time/Terrible Headache – Call 911 right away if you have any of the above symptoms or “the worst headache of your life.”

Among the risk factors for a stroke are high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, smoking and diabetes. Strokes can largely be prevented with proper health care, according to the CDC, which estimates 80 percent of all strokes are preventable. Controlling high blood pressure is the most important step someone can take to help prevent a stroke, the CDC said.

Monica Cook, stroke coordinator at Piedmont Macon Medical Center and Piedmont Macon North Hospital, urges everyone to act quickly at the first signs of a possible stroke.

“Taking our health seriously is important,” Cook said. “Manage your risk factors that are within your control, and never wait when it comes to stroke. If someone has just one symptom of stroke, it’s time to call 911.”