Stroke is the #1 cause of preventable disability and the 5th leading killer in the nation.
So what is a stoke, exactly? According to the National Stroke Association, a stroke is a "brain attack" that can happen to anyone at any time. It occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off. When this happens, brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die, causing a loss of the abilities controlled by that area of the brain, such as memory and muscle control.
The effect of a stroke on a person depends of where the stroke occurs in the brain and how much of the brain is damaged. Some people recover completely from strokes, but more than 2/3 of survivors will have some type of disability.
The main types of stroke include:
- Hemorrhagic Stroke - occurs when a weakened blood vessel ruptures
- Ischemic Stroke - occurs as a result of an obstruction within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain
- TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack) - caused by a temporary clot; often called a "mini stroke"
Some stroke risk factors are hereditary and unchangeable, while others result from a person's lifestyle. The leading cause of stroke, and the most important controllable risk factor for stroke is high blood pressure.
The prevention of stroke begins with managing key risk factors, including high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, atrial fibrillation, and physical inactivity. Speak with your doctor about possible medical treatments if you're a high-risk patient.
When a stroke occurs, it is critical that you get medical attention right away. Immediate treatment may minimize the long-term effects of a stroke and prevent death.
Thanks to the American Heart Association, an easy way to remember stroke warning signs is to think F.A.S.T.
- Face drooping
- Arm weakness
- Speech difficulty
- Time to call 911
Please join us this month in getting the word out about stroke. Together we can raise awareness of this disease and help save lives.
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