American Heart Association Communications Director, Kristy Smorol is the guest on the weekly, local public affairs program, Southern Tier Close Up to help wrap up the observance of National Stroke Awareness Month.

WNBF News/Roger Neel Photo

Smorol says many people aren't aware of the relationship between heart health and stroke but should remember both are tied to the circulatory system and blood pressure issues.

Smorol says another thing people don't consider is what steps they take to prevent heart attack and hypertension are also integral in preventing stroke, which can be the result of a blood clot or the rupture of a blood vessel in the brain.

Everyone should be aware of the symptoms of stroke: face drooping, arm weakness and speech issues like slurred speech or someone speaking gibberish with the appearance of those symptoms immediately prompting fast action to call 911  Those indicators are easy to remember by their first letters: F.A.S.T. (face, arm, speech, time to act)

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In addition to discussing ways to reduce risks like diet, exercise, frequent blood pressure checks and regular checkups, Smorol talks about less obvious factors that can contribute to stroke risk including social economic influences in some populations including communities of color.

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association is also continuing to explore how COVID-19 may be impacting heart disease and stroke risk as long-term effects of the pandemic begin to emerge.

Anyone with questions about stroke or heart health can go to the American Heart Association website. Donations to support research and patient services can also be made through the website.  Contributions to the Heart Walk are also still being accepted.

Southern Tier Close Up is heard Saturdays at 6:03 a.m. on News Radio 1290 WNBF and anytime on the WNBF podcast.

Here are some tips for self-care during the pandemic: