May is American Stroke Month, an event sponsored by the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association to raise awareness about strokes.
What is a stroke?
A stroke affects the arteries leading to and within the brain and occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot (called an ischemic stroke) or bursts/ruptures (called a hemorrhagic stroke). When this happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen that it needs, so brain cells die.
Because of this, it is extremely important to be able to recognize a stroke a quickly as possible and contact medical professionals to help your loved ones survive a stroke.
Spotting a stroke can be simple, just think F.A.S.T! This acronym should help you recognize the warning signs of stroke and direct you to calling 911.
Once medical professionals have arrived, they will get to work in order to bring your loved one to a hospital for proper treatment.
Now that you know the signs of a stroke, let’s talk about how to prevent one, because no one wants to have a stroke.
- Stroke risk increases with age, but young adults, children, and even unborn babies can suffer stroke.
- Stroke risk also increases if a parent, grandparent, brother, or sister has had a stroke
- African Americans have a much higher risk of stroke than Caucasians
- Women have more strokes then men
- High blood pressure is the leading cause of stroke and is the most important risk factor for a stroke
- Other risk factors that should be controlled and contribute to someone’s risk of stroke include:
- Cigarette smoking
- Untreated diabetes
- Artery disease
- Atrial fibrillation
- High cholesterol
- Physical inactivity and obesity
- Poor diet
Want to learn more? Visit the following websites which have more information about strokes, or talk to your primary care provider or pharmacist.
American Heart Association and American Stroke Association