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National Older Americans Month and Stroke Awareness Month

Dr. D's Medical Update

May is a month for two important causes: National Older Americans Month and Stroke Awareness Month. Both campaigns aim to raise awareness of critical issues affecting older Americans and to promote healthy living and self-care practices.
National Older Americans Month, celebrated every May, is a time to honor the contributions and sacrifices of older adults in our communities. It’s a time to acknowledge their accomplishments and show our appreciation for their wisdom, experience, and resilience. This year’s theme is “Communities of Strength,” highlighting the essential role of older adults in creating strong, vibrant, and inclusive communities.

One of the main goals of National Older Americans Month is to promote healthy aging and active lifestyles. Caring for our bodies and minds becomes even more critical as we age. Regular exercise, healthy eating habits, and social engagement can all contribute to better physical and mental health. Additionally, staying up-to-date with medical appointments and screenings is crucial to prevent and detect any health issues early on.

Another critical aspect of National Older Americans Month is advocating for the rights and well-being of older adults. Advocating includes ensuring access to affordable healthcare, social services, and safe living environments. It’s also essential to combat ageism and promote intergenerational connections and understanding.

On the other hand, Stroke Awareness Month is also celebrated in May to raise awareness about the risks, symptoms, and prevention of strokes. A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted due to a blocked or burst blood vessel. Strokes are a leading cause of disability and death in the United States, but they can often be prevented or treated with prompt medical attention.

The key to preventing strokes is managing the risk factors contributing to them. The most common risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, and obesity. Lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and managing stress can all help reduce these risk factors. Additionally, seeking medical attention promptly is essential if you experience any stroke symptoms, such as sudden weakness, numbness, or difficulty speaking or seeing.

Stroke Awareness Month is also a time to educate the public about the signs and symptoms of a stroke. Knowing these signs and acting quickly can save lives and prevent long-term disability. The acronym “FAST” is often used to remember the warning signs: Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, and Time to call 911. If you or someone you know experiences these symptoms, call 911 immediately and seek medical attention.

In conclusion, May is a critical month for promoting healthy aging and stroke prevention. National Older Americans Month and Stroke Awareness Month remind us of the importance of caring for ourselves and our loved ones as we age. By prioritizing healthy habits, seeking medical attention promptly, and advocating for the rights and well-being of older adults, we can all contribute to creating more robust, healthier, and more inclusive communities.

Michael Dominguez, MD, FAAFP is board certified in Family Medicine. His office is located at HealthTexas Medical Group, 590 N. General McMullen, 78228, phone: 210-249-0212.