Every 40 seconds someone in the United States suffers a stroke. That’s a pretty powerful statistic. It translates to almost 800,000 people a year, making strokes the fifth leading cause of death in this country.&
Our seniors are at highest risk for a stroke. Almost 75% of all strokes occur in adults over the age of 65.
The surprising news is that the majority of strokes are preventable.
In honor of May’s designation as National Stroke Awareness month, we are sharing what you should know about the risk factors and symptoms of stroke.
What is a Stroke?
In simple terms, a stroke occurs when blood and oxygen can’t reach the brain. Sometimes it is because of a clot while other times it is a result of a blood vessel bursting.
A stroke can cause permanent damage, disability, or even death if medical intervention doesn’t occur in time.
5 Common Signs of a Stroke
A stroke can be a life-threatening medical emergency. Knowing the signs and symptoms that indicate someone is experiencing a stroke can save a life. The sooner a person receives treatment for a stroke, the greater their chances for a full recovery.
Here are the warning signs everyone should know:
- Sudden numbness or weakness: If an adult suddenly develops weakness, numbness, or tingling in their face, arm, or leg it can be the sign of a stroke. They may lose partial feeling or experience a complete loss of feeling and function.
- Loss of coordination: Difficulty walking, dizziness, and a loss of coordination all occur when the brain is deprived of oxygen. These are signs that require immediate emergency care.
- Trouble with speech and confusion: Problems articulating words or speaking nonsensical words can be symptoms of a stroke. Confusion and disorientation often accompany speech problems, too.
- Loss of vision: Loss of vision in one or both eyes or blurry vision is another warning sign of a stroke. A person experiencing a stroke may experience double vision.
- Sudden, severe headache: A sudden and severe headache is another sign of a stroke. It often occurs without any warning.
Call 911 without delay if an adult in your company is exhibiting any of these warning signs.
Who is at Higher Risk for Stroke?
The risk factors of a stroke fall in to two categories: those that are uncontrollable and those that can be managed with a healthy lifestyle.
Uncontrollable risk factors include:
- Age: The risk of stroke more than doubles every decade between the ages of 55 and 85.
- Genetics: If an immediate family has experienced a stroke, your risk might also be higher. Sometimes it is linked to a family history of high blood pressure or diabetes, two leading causes of strokes.
- Gender: Your gender also impacts your risk for suffering and surviving a stroke. While men have more strokes than women, strokes are more deadly for women.
Controllable risk factors for strokes include:
- Smoking cigarettes
- High blood pressure
- Too much alcohol consumption
- High cholesterol
The good news is that working with your physician to create a plan for a healthy lifestyle can reduce your risk for stroke by as much as 80%.
Live Well at Five Star Senior Living
At Five Star Senior Living, we call our approach to resident wellness Lifestyle360. That’s because we focus on each of the five dimension of wellness: intellectual, social, physical, emotional, and spiritual. Contact us to learn how we help each resident live their best life.