Stroke Awareness: Think F A S T!
May is Stroke Awareness Month the whole world over. And even though the month is coming to a close, there’s more to say about this life-threatening emergency. So what is a stroke? A stroke is a serious emergency that can happen to anyone, at any time, and at any age. According to the American National Stroke Association “a stroke occurs when blood vessels in the brain, called arteries, are blocked or burst.” The effects of a stroke can result in long-term disability and even death, so it’s important to act quickly.
The four types of stroke are: ischemic, hemorrhagic, TIA, and cryptogenic (unknown causes), and the most common is an ischemic stroke (which happens when an obstruction within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain), and this type accounts for 87 percent of all stroke cases. But one thing all strokes have in common is a loss of blood flow to the brain.
It's ok to overact
When it comes to strokes, every second counts. So, when if you think someone is in trouble, call emergency services in your area. Common signs of stroke spell out the word FAST (Face drooping - Arm weakness - Speech problems - Time to call). These are some of the signs, but some strokes, called silent strokes, often are undetected. So, if you suspect someone (or even yourself) is in distress, be on the safe side and seek medical attention.
Healthy Habits mean Prevention
Although we all do our best to stay healthy, everyday lifestyle can have a tremendous impact on the risk of stroke, heart disease and other life-threatening emergencies. And statistics say that about 80% of strokes are preventable. Some healthy habits that may help reduce your chances of suffering a stroke:
- Record your blood pressure, and get it under control if it's too high. (generally about 130/80 or higher). Your chances of stroke increase if you have high blood pressure or an irregular heartbeat.
- Know your cholesterol numbers.
- Keep your blood sugar levels in the “green zone”.
- Be a non-smoker (good for the environment and saves money).
- Eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits, colorful vegetables, and whole grains. Reduce red meat consumption as well as salt and sugar.
- Get regular exercise (10,000 steps/day or exercise 30 minutes or more 4 times per week).
- Keep to a healthy weight (find out your BMI).
Maybe you’ve read something today that will motivate you to take some time out for yourself and your health. Note that you should always check with a licensed doctor or healthcare professional to discuss lifestyle changes before making any dramatic changes yourself. For more information about this topic, one possible source is here.