How to Prevent and Detect Strokes

In the next 40 seconds, someone in the United States will have a stroke. Are you among those at highest risk?

 A stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures or is blocked by a clot. A stroke caused by a blockage is called an ischemic stroke. A hemorrhagic stroke is the result of a ruptured vessel that bleeds into or around the brain. The blockage or bleeding deprives brain cells of adequate oxygen-carrying blood and the cells start to die, which can lead to ongoing mental and physical impairment (difficulty thinking, speaking and moving) or even death.

 Strokes are the fourth-ranked cause of death in the United States and a primary reason for long-term disability among adults. Each year, about 795,000 Americans suffer a new or recurrent stroke, and about 60 percent of strokes occur in women and 40 percent in men. Fortunately, 80 percent of all strokes are preventable.

 If a person shows signs of a stroke, it is crucial to seek medical help immediately. Never wait to see if symptoms lessen. Signs of a stroke include the following:

  • ·         Sudden weakness, numbness or paralysis of the face, arm or leg, often on one side of the body.
  • ·         Sudden trouble speaking or understanding; confusion.
  • ·         Sudden vision problems in one or both eyes.
  • ·         Sudden difficulty walking, dizziness or loss of balance.
  • ·         Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

 Older adults experience more strokes, often because they face more cardiovascular disease and are more sedentary. To reduce the risk of a stroke, particularly in aging loved ones, follow these recommendations:

  • ·         Eat a healthier diet.
  • ·         Manage blood pressure.
  • ·         Maintain physical activity.
  • ·         Lose extra weight.
  • ·         Lower cholesterol levels.
  • ·         Reduce blood sugar.
  • ·         Avoid smoking.

 To learn more about stroke prevention and resources to help a stroke survivor, visit StrokeAssociation.org or call 1-888-4-STROKE (787653).

 How have you been successful in encouraging aging loved ones to make stroke-prevention lifestyle changes?

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Right at Home offers in-home care to seniors and adults with disabilities who want to live independently. Most Right at Home offices are independently owned and operated, and directly employ and supervise all caregiving staff.
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