08:19 AM

5 essential facts about strokes

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and disability in the United States. When a stroke occurs, the blood vessel which carries the oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or ruptures, and when this happens, parts of the brain can’t get the blood or oxygen that it needs, so it dies along with brain cells.

This disease is very common, and the more we learn about it, the more lives we could save.

1. Time lost is brain lost – If a stroke is not treated quickly, the abilities and productive life can be lost within a short amount of time. Its important to act fast – your brain is your most prized possession.

2. Anyone can have a stroke – Many people tend to think that strokes can only happen to older people, but it’s important to know that anyone can have a stroke, including children. Just as adults can help prevent a stroke, so can children and young adults. Managing a healthy weight, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, keep diabetes under control, and keeping a low blood pressure are all great ways that can help prevent a stroke.

3. Stroke kills brain cells – Strokes happens when a rupture or clot interrupts the blood flow to the brain. Without oxygen-rich blood, brain cells die.

4. Warning signs and symptoms of a stroke come on quickly – Every minute counts. The most common signs of a stroke are sudden onset: numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, confusion, difficulty speaking, trouble walking and severe headache.

5. Prevention is key – According to the American Stroke Association, up to 80 percent of strokes can be prevented. There are some risk factors that are out of our control, such as age, however there are many other ways for you to help protect yourself against a stroke.

  • Monitor your blood pressure and try and maintain a blood pressure of less than 120/80.
  • Make exercise a part of your lifestyle – even though it can also help lead to weight loss and help lower your blood pressure, it also stands on its own as an independent stroke reducer.
  • Quit smoking
  • If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Studies have shown that once you start drinking more than one glass per day, your risk for a stroke goes up dramatically.