Are you aware that stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States, and that approximately 137,000 Americans die each year, resulting from stroke? Cause of stroke is usually either a clot blocking the blood vessels, or bleeding in the brain. It is important to recognize the signs of stroke and get medical help immediately. The faster a person can receive medical attention, the greater their chance of recovery. Because death or serious disabilities can be caused by stroke, here are some important symptoms to watch for:
- Sudden numbness, paralysis, or weakness in face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
- Abrupt vision changes.
- Slurred speech, drooling, or feeling confused.
- A severe headache that feels different from normal headaches and comes on quickly.
If you are with someone whom you suspect may be having a stroke, call for help immediately. Some signs of stroke may be that the person may not be able to smile, talk, such as speak simple sentences, or raise both arms. A rule of thumb to remember is S-T-R, which describes things you may ask them to do while waiting for an ambulance. But a doctor must diagnose and treat the person, and time is of the essence!
There are many factors that contribute to stroke. Keep these in mind:
- High blood pressure, high cholesterol or triglycerides, diabetes, obesity. These are conditions that should be monitored often. Salt intake should be limited.
- Risky behaviors, such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol, or physical inactivity.
- Heredity also plays a role in the risk of stroke.
Because I lost both my parents and three of my grandparents to stroke, I have known that there are things I must do to try to stay healthy. I love to eat sweets, and I would be fibbing if I told you I always eat healthy. But I exercise every day, (I still walk my dog Buddy every day, as well as go to the fitness center), watch my blood pressure, and try to avoid stress if possible.
A stroke can be debilitating for an individual and their family, as well. We are fortunate that physical and occupational rehabilitation can restore patients to their normal functions in some cases. By paying attention to our bodies and living a healthy lifestyle as much as possible, we all must try to avoid being a victim of stroke.
Centers for Disease Control