(Chelsea, MI) – Do you know what to do when you suspect a loved one may be having a stroke? Do you know the risk factors for heart attack and stroke?

May is National Stroke Awareness Month and National High Blood Pressure Education Month, and to help area residents understand the risk factors for heart disease and stroke, 5 Healthy Towns Foundation, local medical providers, and the Washtenaw Chapter of the American Heart Association are teaming up to offer free blood pressure screening.

According to Spring Quinones, Community Impact Director at the American Heart Association, “blood pressure screening plays an important role in identifying this silent killer. Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure increases the risk of serious conditions such as heart disease and stroke.”

In addition to early detection, acting FAST when signs of a stroke are present is an important step to preventing permanent disabilities. FAST means taking action if you observe Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulties – you know it’s Time to call 9-1-1.  For every second that the brain is without proper oxygen, brain tissue is damaged leading to physical and cognitive impairments.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 1 in 3 adults has high blood pressure in the U.S. Every year in the U.S., more than 795,000 people have a stroke.

Free blood pressure screening stations will be set up at local senior centers and farmers markets during the month of May. Volunteer screeners from Henry Ford Health/Jackson, Chelsea Hospital and the community will be taking readings and referring those individuals at high risk for a medical evaluation.

May 4 – Stockbridge Senior Center 10 am – noon

May 7 – Dexter District Library at the Farmers market 9am-noon

May 13 – Stockbridge Open Air Market 4pm-7pm

May 15 – Downtown Manchester 1pm-3pm

May 18 – Grass Lake Farmers Market/Pavilion 4pm-7pm

May 21 – Chelsea Farmers Market/Palmer Commons 10am-1pm

May 25 – Dexter Senior Center 10am-noon

For a schedule of events, go to OneBigConnection.org and click on the Events tab. For more information, contact Matt Pegouskie or Lori Kintz, at 734-433-4599.