Older Americans account for nearly three-quarters of the strokes suffered each year in the United States. And stroke is the cause of death for more than 350 people in this country each day.
Knowing the facts about strokes can be the first step to improving these grim statistics.
Raising Awareness About Strokes
This is why it’s important for seniors and caregivers to learn all they can about stroke.
In recognition of World Stroke Day, which falls on October 29 this year, here are a few facts about this potentially deadly medical event. Seniors and caregivers can help raise awareness by sharing this info with all of their friends and family.
1. Know the Warning Signs of Stroke
When someone is suffering a stroke, every minute counts. Learning the warning signs may save someone’s life.
Stroke symptoms include:
- Problems speaking
- Face, arm, or leg numbness, especially on one side of the body
- Trouble seeing
- Severe headache
It’s critical to summon medical help as soon as you begin to recognize the signs of stroke.
2. Most Strokes are Ischemic Strokes
According to the CDC, about 87 percent of all strokes that occur in the United States are ‘ischemic strokes.’ These occur when the brain is temporarily deprived of blood flow, possibly by a blockage in the blood vessels or a burst blood vessel in the brain.
3. Some Risk Factors for Stroke are Genetic
Your chances of suffering a stroke increase when certain hereditary factors are present. Race and ethnicity are two. African Americans, Hispanic, and Asian/Pacific Islanders all have a higher risk of stroke than Caucasians. Other factors include:
- Family history
- Fibromuscular Dysplasia (FMD)
- Previous stroke
- Patent Foramen Ovale or a hole in the heart
While it might seem like women are at higher risk for a stroke, the statistic can be a little misleading. They have higher numbers of strokes, but it’s really a result of a longer lifespan.
4. Some Risk Factors Can be Controlled
There are two kinds of risk factors for stroke that people can generally control. One is medical risk factors and the other is lifestyle factors.
Lifestyle changes that may help you reduce your risk for stroke include:
- Switch to a healthy diet that’s rich in a variety of vegetables and fruits
- Consume a minimum intake of sugar, saturated fats, sodium, and alcohol
- Incorporate physical activity into your week
- Quit smoking
Controllable health conditions that contribute to strokes are:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Atrial fibrillation (AFIB)
- Circulation problems
- Carotid artery disease
Risk of Stroke Increases with Age
As we age, our chance of having a stroke increases. In fact after the age of 55, the risk of having a stroke doubles every ten years. The consequences can be life-changing. For older adults, there is more than a 50 percent chance of experiencing mobility issues after a stroke.
Helping Raise Awareness on October 29 and Every Day
At Five Star Senior Living, we’re aware of the risk factors for stroke among older Americans. Our team members are trained to look for the early warning signs that might indicate a problem. In addition, community features like the Five Star Signature Dining program help mitigate controllable risk factors.
Interested in learning more about healthy lifestyles at Five Star Living? Call or visit a community near you.