Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death and the main reason for adult
disability in the United States. According to the National Stroke Association,
approximately 795,000 Americans suffer a new or recurrent stroke each
year. Within the first year, five to 14 percent of stroke survivors will
have a second stroke. On average, a stroke occurs every 40 seconds and
someone dies, as a result, every four minutes.
A stroke, or cerebrovascular accident (CVA), is the rapid loss of brain
function due to a disturbance in the blood supply to the brain. It can
be caused either by a clot obstructing the flow of blood to the brain
(called an ischemic stroke) or by a weak blood vessel rupturing and preventing
blood flow to the brain (called a hemorrhagic stroke).
There are other symptoms you should know about when it comes to stroke.
If a person suddenly numbness or weakness in the leg or arm, especially
on one side of the body; confusion or trouble understanding; difficulty
seeing in one or both eyes; problems walking, dizziness, loss of balance
or coordination; or a severe headache with no known cause, seek medical
Know the Sudden Signs of Stroke.
Spot a Stroke FAST
- Face Drooping (Ask the person to smile) Does one side of the face droop
or is it numb?
- Arm Weakness (Ask the person to raise both arms) Is one arm weak or numb?
Does one arm drift downward?
- Speech Difficulty (Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence) Is their
speech slurred? Is the sentence repeated correctly?
- Time to call 9-1-1 If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the
symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get him/her to the hospital immediately.
Note: Check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms began.
This information is important in making decisions for treatment.
Stroke Risk FactorsThere are other symptoms you should know about when
it comes to stroke. If a person suddenly hasnumbness or weakness in the
leg or arm, especially on one side of the body; confusion or trouble understanding;
difficulty seeing in one or both eyes; problems walking, dizziness, loss
of balance or coordination; or severe headache with no known cause, seek
medical attention immediately.
Be aware that people over the age of 55 with a personal or family history
of stroke are automatically at a higher risk. Statistically, men and African-Americans
are at a greater susceptibility of developing a stroke. While genetics
and heredity cannot be changed, be aware that people with hypertension,
diabetes, carotid artery disease, atrial fibrillation, heart disease and
high cholesterol are at greater risk. Smoking also increases your chances
of having a stroke.
Lifestyle changes to lower your risks for stroke
To lessen your chance of having a stroke, quitting smoking and limiting
your alcohol intake is recommended. Managing your blood pressure and cholesterol,
while getting checked to know if you have atrial fibrillation are big
prevention steps. If you are diabetic, follow your doctor’s orders
and eat correctly. Finally, remember to exercise often and eat foods low
in sodium and fat.
Although stroke can happen to anyone, certain risk factors can increase
chances of a stroke. However, studies show that up to 80 percent of strokes
can be prevented by working with a healthcare professional to reduce personal
risk. It is important to manage risk and know how to recognize and respond
to stroke signs and symptoms.