May 11, 2023

May Is National Stroke Awareness Month

By Guest Blogger Muzna Ahmed, OTD, OTR/L, Program Coordinator, American Stroke Foundation

A stroke happens when blood flow to the brain is blocked. Stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the U.S. Use the acronym F.A.S.T to recognize the signs of a stroke:

  • F = Face Drooping. Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person's smile uneven?
  • 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?
  • T = Time to call 911.

There is no time limit on the recovery journey for stroke survivors and many may find that their wellness goals extend into the chronic period of recovery (i.e., at least six months after the initial stroke event). The mission of the American Stroke Foundation is to empower stroke survivors and their families to overcome ongoing challenges of life after stroke.

The Next Step Program in the Kansas City area is a wellness and education program to help survivors of stroke continue to improve and regain independence in daily living skills. It offers a variety of groups to improve and maintain physical fitness, communication, emotional health, and a healthy lifestyle. Most importantly, the program provides a place to socialize and work with others who know and understand life after a stroke.

For those outside the Kansas City Area, the American Stroke Foundation offers virtual and online support through a stroke education series, blog, stroke survivor stories, and social media.

For more information, please visit

Editor’s note: Allsup helps individuals after a stroke apply for SSDI and return to work.