Stroke Awareness Month – Know the Signs of a Stroke
May 21, 2019
The month of May is used to spread awareness of the signs of a stroke. Having a stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and is a major cause of a disability for adults. About 795,000 Americans will have a stroke each year – with 610,000 of these being a first-time or new stroke.
What is a stroke and how can a stroke occur?
A stroke is caused when something happens to block the flow of blood. Brain cells will start to die within minutes because they cannot get the oxygen they need.
There are two types of strokes that someone could experience. The first is an ischemic stroke, which occurs when blood clots or other particles block the blood vessels to the brain. The second type is called a hemorrhagic stroke, which occurs when a blood vessel bursts in the brain.
Having a stroke can cause lasting brain damage, long-term disability or even death.
Signs of Stroke in Men and Women
Knowing the signs of a stroke are crucial to helping get treatment immediately. Listed below are the signs of a stroke.
- Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding speech
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble with walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or lack of coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
An easy acronym to help remember the signs of a stroke is by using the word - FAST.
- Face Drooping
- Arm Weakness
- Time to call 911
If you are experiencing any of these signs, you should seek medical attention immediately. Time lost is brain loss. Every minute counts.
Stroke is Preventable
There are several ways to help prevent a stroke. Up to 80 percent of strokes could be prevented through healthy lifestyle changes and working with your healthcare team to control some of the health conditions that raise your risk for a stroke. Some ways to help lower your risk include:
- Maintaining a healthy diet
- Eating foods low in saturated fats, trans fat and cholesterol and high in fiber can help prevent high cholesterol. Limiting salt (sodium) in your diet can also lower your blood pressure. High cholesterol and high blood pressure increase your chances of having a stroke.
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Physical activity
- Physical activity can help you stay at a healthy weight and lower your cholesterol and blood pressure levels. For adults, the Surgeon General recommends 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, such as a brisk walk, each week.
- No smoking
- Limited alcohol
Another easy method to remember how to prevent a stroke is by remembering your ABCS.
- Aspirin: Aspirin may help lower your risk for stroke. But do not take aspirin if you think you’re having a stroke. It can make some types of stroke worse.
- Blood Pressure: Control your blood pressure.
- Cholesterol: Control your cholesterol.
- Smoking: Quit smoking or don’t start.
- 87 percent of all strokes are ischemic strokes, in which blood flow to the brain is blocked.
- Stroke kills about 140,000 Americans each year – that’s one out of every 20 deaths.
- Someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds. While every four minutes, someone dies of stroke.
Sources: www.cdc.gov/stroke/index.htm, www.strokeassociation.org/en/about-stroke/stroke-symptoms
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