Stroke is a major cause of death and disability in the United States, but awareness about how to reduce one’s risk remains low. Stroke occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is interrupted by a clot or bleeding. Awareness about stroke can help people take steps to reduce their risk for this serious condition. In this blog post, we discuss what stroke is, its causes, symptoms, and treatments as well as strategies for prevention. By increasing awareness about stroke risks and signs of an impending attack, we can all work together to save lives and reduce suffering from this devastating disease.
The best way to reduce the risk of stroke is to understand and manage any underlying health conditions. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, atrial fibrillation, smoking, and obesity are all controllable factors that can increase a person’s risk for stroke. Eating a healthy diet low in saturated fat, exercising regularly, quitting smoking, and limiting alcohol consumption are all important ways to reduce the risk of stroke.
It is also important to be aware of the warning signs of a stroke. Stroke symptoms can include: sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg; confusion or trouble speaking; dizziness, loss of balance or coordination; severe headache with no known cause; and vision loss in one or both eyes. If any of these symptoms are present, it is important to seek medical help right away as time is of the essence when treating stroke.
FAST is an acronym used as a mnemonic to help detect and enhance responsiveness to the needs of a person having a stroke. The acronyms stands for Facial Drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulties and Time to call emergency services.
Treatment for stroke depends on the type and severity of the attack, but may include medications to reduce blood pressure and dissolve clots, surgery to remove clots or repair damaged blood vessels, physical therapy and rehabilitation to help regain lost function, and lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking.
By increasing awareness about stroke risk factors and warning signs, we can all work together to reduce the devastating effects of this condition. If you think you may be having a stroke, call 911 immediately. For more information on stroke, please refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or American Stroke Association websites. Together we can make a difference in preventing stroke and saving lives!