May is Stroke Awareness Month
The National Stroke Association state that 80% of strokes can be prevented if symptoms are identified FAST when the:
What is a stroke?
A stroke is a brain attack that happens when a blood clot blocks an artery or breaks a blood vessel which stops blood flow to a region of the brain. This can cause brain cells to die which could lead to brain damage. During a stroke a patient can lose their speech, movements, or memory. Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of long term disability. The National Stroke Association explains that 795, 000 strokes will occur this year and will take a life every four minutes.
Who can a stroke happen to?
A stroke can happen to any race, gender, or age. However, it happens to more African Americans and women. Stroke can be prevented. New emergency treatments can reduce the damage from a stroke if the patients get immediate attention. Seeking prompt medical care is extremely important when showing symptoms because only doctors can tell you if you are having a stroke and they can evaluate and treat you properly. Listening and understanding your doctor’s orders and medications can reduce your chance of a stroke.
What are stroke risk factors?
Risk factors that are uncontrollable for a stroke are being over 55 years old, being African American, Pacific/Islander or Hispanic, being male, having diabetes, and having a family history of strokes. If you have any of these risk factors you should contact your primary care physician to learn about the lifestyle and medication changes you should make. Controllable risk factors are smoking, drinking too much alcohol, being over weight, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Other medical risk factors are health disease, carotid artery disease, and atrial fibrillation.
What are stroke symptoms?
Stroke symptoms are SUDDEN:
- Numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg (especially on one side of the body)
- Confusion and/or difficulty in speaking or understanding
- Problem’s with vision
- Trouble in walking, dizziness, or loss of coordination
- Sever headaches without cause
How to prevent a stroke?
You can prevent a stroke by knowing your blood pressure (120/80 or lower), your cholesterol (200mg/dl or lower), and knowing if you have atrial fibrillation. Stopping smoking and reducing alcohol consumption will also prevent against stroke. Smoking can speed up arterly clooging, damage blood vessels, and raise blood pressure which are all factors that can lead to a stroke. Controlling your diabetes, being active, and eating healthy are other great ways to prevent having a stroke. You should exercise at least 30 minutes a day. Your daily diet should be low in calories, saturated and trans fats, salt, and cholesterol. Aim to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
** It is best to see your primary care physician regularly in order to prevent and understand your risk factors for a stroke. Please call 773-702-0660 to make an appointment at Friend Family Health Center. **
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