A stroke happens when brain tissue dies because a blood vessel in the brain ruptures, or because the blood supply to the brain is cut off. This is a serious condition and strokes are the fifth leading cause of death in the USA according to the CDC. In average, one American dies from stroke every four minutes. It is well worth the effort to study up on strokes and learn how to prevent one!
Living habits play a large role in stroke risk and prevention
Follow these four tips to minimize the risk:
- Eat a healthy diet
Foods low in saturated fats and trans fats and high in fiber can help prevent high cholesterol, which is a culprit in strokes. Eat plenty of vegetables and fresh fruits, and limit salt to help keep your blood pressure in a healthy range.
- Keep a healthy weight
Being overweight increases the risk for stroke. Losing weight isn’t easy, but comes with many health benefits. To determine if your weight is a risk factor you can talk to your doctor, and get advice on how to keep the pounds off. Following the other tips in this guide will also help keep a healthy weight.
Adults should exercise at least two hours and thirty minutes every week. This physical activity will help lower cholesterol, keep blood pressure in check, and keep the weight where it’s supposed to be. Find an activity you like. It’s easier to actually do it if you’re doing it together with a friend.
- Limit alcohol and don’t smoke
Cigarette smoking is a huge risk factor for strokes. Your doctor can help find methods for you to quit. Drinking too much raises blood pressure, and limiting the alcohol intake can lower the risk for stroke.
Besides a healthy lifestyle, certain medical conditions affect the risk for stroke. Check your cholesterol, keep your blood pressure at a healthy level, and if you have diabetes or heart disease, follow your doctor’s recommendations and don’t skip your medications.
Signs and symptoms of stroke
Sometimes bad things happen even though we do things right. During a stroke, every minute counts. Take symptoms seriously and seek out health care immediately – fast treatment can reduce brain damage. The most effective treatments can only be applied within three hours of the first symptoms.
Signs of stroke include sudden:
- Numbness or weakness in the face, an arm, or a leg. Especially if it happens on only one side of the body
- Confusion, problems speaking, or problems understanding others’ speech
- Trouble seeing with both eyes or one eye
- Trouble walking, loss of balance, dizziness, and/or lack of coordination
- Severe headache with no known cause
If you think someone might be having a stroke, ask them to smile and observe the face. Does one side droop? Ask the person to raise their arms and observe whether one arm drifts downwards. Also ask them to repeat a simple phrase. Slurred and strange speech can indicate a stroke. If you see any of these signs, call 911. It is helpful to note the time the symptoms first appeared.
Sometimes symptoms disappear after a few minutes, and many ignore them. This is called a Transient Ischemic Attack, and this is a serious warning of a future stroke. Even if symptoms disappear within five minutes, the attack should be treated like a major stroke. Call 911 and get help.
Long distance medical transportation after a stroke
Many who survive a stroke have lingering physical problems, especially if the stroke isn’t treated quickly enough. If you have had a stroke in the past and need long distance medical transportation for medical care, visiting family, or travelling for some other reason, give us a call at 800-311-3412.