May is American Stroke Month, a time to raise awareness about the prevalence of stroke, educate individuals on how to reduce their risk and talk about ways to help prepare yourself for the possibility of having a stroke. Stroke is all too common. According to experts, a stroke happens every 40 seconds in the U.S.,1 and about 1-in-4 Americans can expect to have a stroke at some point in their lives.2 It’s challenging to plan for something as unexpected as a stroke, but knowledge is power when it comes to reducing your risk and being prepared for the possibility of a stroke.
Every second counts during a stroke. Knowing the signs of stroke could save your life, or the life of someone else. Here’s how to spot the signs of stroke FAST:
Face—Is one side of the face drooping?
Arms—Is one arm weak?
Speech—Is speech slurred?
Time—Call 911 right away at the first sign of stroke.
Tips to help prevent a stroke
There are some risk factors that are impossible to avoid—such as your family history or age. However, there are several ways you can help reduce your risk.
Check out these seven things you can do to help reduce your risk for stroke, according to Harvard Medical School:3
- Lower your blood pressure.
- Lose weight.
- Exercise more.
- If you drink, do it in moderation.
- Treat atrial fibrillation.
- Treat diabetes.
- Quit smoking.
Talk to your doctor about your risk factors and work together to develop a wellness plan to help reduce your risk for stroke.
The after-effects of stroke
More than 80% of people who have a stroke survive, making it one of the leading causes of disability in the United States.4
Survivors often face physical, emotional and cognitive challenges, such a speech difficulty, vision problems, imbalance, difficulty swallowing, paralysis of one side of the body and more. Most stroke patients need rehabilitation therapy, which can help them recover much of their lost function.5
In addition to physical challenges, many stroke survivors face high medical costs during their time of recovery. Deductibles, co-pays, surprise billing, and diagnosis and treatment bills are just a few expenses a patient may face.
How much does a stroke cost?
According to the Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases, the average cost of a hospital stay for a stroke patient ranges from $20,396 to $43,652.6
And while the medical bills add up, stroke patients usually can’t work and may lose their income.
According to the American Heart Association, each year Americans spend on average: 7
- $45.5 billion on direct and indirect costs of stroke.
- $7.9 billion on hospital inpatient stays for stroke.
- $2.4 billion on hospital outpatient or office-based provider visits for stroke.
- $8.2 billion for home health care for stroke.
- $17.5 billion each year in lost wages.
Covering the cost of stroke with critical illness insurance
Planning for something as unexpected as a stroke is difficult, but you can help ready yourself for the financial impact of a stroke, and other critical conditions, with help from critical illness insurance.
Critical illness insurance pays in addition to your primary medical insurance. However, unlike your primary medical insurance, cash benefits are paid directly to you. There are NO RESTRICTIONS on how you use your benefits, which means you can use them for deductibles, co-pays, non-covered treatments, bills and household expenses, and more.
Watch to learn more about critical illness insurance:
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1American Heat Association, Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2019 At-a-Glance, 2019, p. 2.
2WebMD, 1 in 4 People Over 25 Will Be Hit by Stroke, 2018, https://www.webmd.com/stroke/news/20181220/1-in-4-people-over-25-will-be-hit-by-stroke#1.
3Harvard Medical School, 7 things you can do to prevent a stroke, https://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/8-things-you-can-do-to-prevent-a-stroke, 2018.
4UCI Health, There is life after stroke, https://www.ucihealth.org/blog/2019/05/life-after-stroke, May 2019.
5UCI Health, There is life after stroke, https://www.ucihealth.org/blog/2019/05/life-after-stroke, 2019.
6Disability Benefits Help, Stroke and Social Security Disability, https://www.disability-benefits-help.org/disabling-conditions/stroke-and-social-security-disability, 2018.
7American Heart Association, Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2019 Update, 2019, p. e517.