Stroke Awareness on World Stroke Day

Stroke Awareness on World Stroke Day

  • October 25, 2016

Every 40 seconds, someone has a stroke. Every 4 minutes, someone dies from a stroke.
 
Even more startling?
 
Up to 80 percent of strokes can be prevented.
 
October 29th is World Stroke Day, a day devoted to reducing the “global burden of stroke.” Strokes are the leading cause of disability around the world, and the second leading cause of death.
 
Becoming proactive about stroke prevention means becoming educated about what causes strokes, how to treat strokes, and ultimately, how to prevent strokes.
 
Causes of Strokes
 
Strokes occur when blood flow is cut off to parts of the brain, depriving brain cells of oxygen and causing both temporary and permanent damage. The area of the brain typically affected by strokes can impair memory, speech and muscle control.
 
The risk factors associated with stroke include:
  • Age.  According to the American Stroke Association, the “chance of having a stroke approximately doubles for each decade of life after 55.”
  • Genetics. Heredity plays an important role when it comes to strokes. In fact, the American Stroke Association reports that some strokes are symptoms of genetic disorders like CADASIL, which is caused by a “gene mutation that leads to damage of blood vessel walls in the brain, blocking blood flow.”
  • Gender. Women experience strokes more often than men, due in part to complications from certain types of birth control, pregnancy, postmenopausal hormone therapy and smoking tobacco.
  • Prior incidence of stroke, TIA or heart attack. Those who have experienced cardiovascular attacks in the past are more likely to have a stroke.
  • Medical History. Those who have a history of high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol are also at higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease and stroke.
 
Time Is of the Essence
 
Strokes are serious medical emergencies, so time is truly of the essence when it comes to receiving treatment. Those who receive treatment quickly have a better chance of making a full recovery than those who do not receive immediate help.
 
Acting FAST (Face, Arms, Speech, Time) is a method that can help you not only identify the signs of a stroke, but also ensure that the person experiencing the stroke can receive immediate help. Calling 9-1-1 as soon as you notice signs of a stroke can help aid in the post-stroke recovery process.
 
If the stroke victim can make it to the hospital within a 4 hour window of experiencing the stroke, they will be given clot-busting drugs which increase their recovery by 30 percent.
 
Preventing Strokes
 
Knowledge is the first step in stroke prevention. Diet and exercise can have a positive impact on stroke risk:
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Stop smoking tobacco
  • Eat fresh and nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables every day
  • Avoid processed foods like canned soups, deli meat, vegetable juice and even marinara sauce
  • Lower your salt intake to keep blood pressure and cholesterol in check
  • Commit to 30 minutes of physical activity everyday--it could be as simple as walking around your neighborhood!
  • Lose weight to bring your BMI down to a normal range
  • Get more sleep! At least 7-8 hours of sleep each night can help prevent heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke
Keeping Seniors Safe At Home

Strokes are just one risk our senior loved one’s face. In-home safety is another. Download “The Indiana Caregiver’s Guide to Senior Safety at Home” to access information and checklists to help you identify potential hazards in an older adult’s home.

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