Did You Know That Stroke Is A Leading Cause Of Death And Disability?
- Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, and a leading cause of disability.
- Approximately 795,000 people will experience a new or recurrent stroke each year.
- Stroke can happen at any age—25% of strokes occur in people under the age of 65.
- Family caregivers are greatly affected—in a recent survey, as many as 36% of caregivers reduced their work hours, resigned from their jobs, or retired to care for a family member affected by stroke.
What is a stroke?
The brain needs a constant supply of blood, which carries the oxygen and nutrients it needs to function. Each artery supplies blood to specific areas of the brain. A stroke occurs when one of these arteries to the brain either is blocked or bursts.
An ischemic stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery, cutting off the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a part of the brain. Unless nearby blood vessels can deliver enough blood to the affected area, brain cells will begin to die and stroke survivors will start to have problems using certain parts of their bodies or completely lose some abilities. Ischemic stroke is the most common type of stroke.
Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
If an artery leading to the brain, or inside the brain, becomes blocked for a short period of time, the blood flow to an area of the brain slows or stops. This lack of blood (and oxygen) can cause a Transient Ischemic Attack or mini-stroke, with symptoms such as numbness, trouble speaking, and loss of balance or coordination. It is common for these symptoms to last for a very short period of time and then disappear. While TIAs cause no permanent brain damage, they are a serious warning sign of stroke and should not be ignored.
- Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
National Stroke Association’s Stroke Prevention Guidelines
- Know your blood pressure. If it is high, work with your doctor to lower it.
- Find out if you have atrial fibrillation. If you do, work with your doctor to manage it.
- If you smoke, stop.
- If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.
- Know your cholesterol number. If it is high, work with your doctor to control it.
- If you are diabetic, follow your doctor’s advice carefully to get your blood sugar level under control.
- Include exercise in your daily routine.
- Enjoy a lower sodium, lower fat diet.
- Ask your doctor if you have circulation problems which increase your stroke risk. If so, work with your doctor to control them.
- If you have any stroke symptoms or see them in someone else, call 911.
*Source: National Stroke Association