Stroke Awareness Month
Stroke Awareness Month
Did you know that strokes kill more than 133,000 Americans annually? Stroke is the leading cause of serious, long-term disability. Each year, about as many Americans have a stroke as a heart attack. Every 40 seconds someone in the U.S. has a stroke, and after years of going down, stroke deaths are now up by three percent.
However, there’s good news: 80 percent of strokes are preventable! May is National Stroke Awareness Month, and we’d like to educate as many people as possible on how to reduce their risk of stroke.
What can I control?
Some risk factors associated with strokes are uncontrollable such as heredity, age and race, but the biggest risk factors are preventable. One in three American adults has high blood pressure, and it’s the most important controllable risk factor for stroke. In fact, the majority of people who have a first stroke have high blood pressure. You can control your blood pressure by:
- Eating a better diet, which may include reducing salt intake.
- Engage in regular physical activity.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Manage stress.
- Avoid tobacco smoke.
- Take your medication as prescribed.
- If you drink alcohol, limit your intake (no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men).
Other controllable or treatable factors that put you at a high risk of stroke include:
- Cigarette smoking
- Diabetes mellitus
- Poor diet, physical inactivity and obesity
- High blood cholesterol
- Atrial fibrillation
- Heart disease
- Sickle cell disease
- Peripheral artery disease
- Carotid or other artery disease
What else can I do to reduce my risk?
In the case that one does have a stroke, it’s important to act FAST! If you notice Face drooping, Arm weakness or Speech difficulty, it’s Time to call 9-1-1! Other detailed symptoms include:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
When it comes to stroke, time lost is brain lost. The faster a stroke is treated, the more likely the patient is to recover. Stroke patients treated with the clot-busting drug within 90 minutes of their first symptoms are almost three times more likely to recover with little or no disability. Ninety-one percent of stroke patients treated with a stent retriever within 150 minutes to first symptoms recovered with little or no disability.
The best way to prevent stroke is through education. Help us spread the word by sharing this post with your friends!
The material in this article was developed from the American Stroke Association and the American Heart Association.