1. In order to remember and recognize symptoms of a stroke, remember the acronym F.A.S.T. Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 9-1-1.
2. Strokes are also largely treatable. The faster you are treated, the more likely you are to recover without permanent disability. In order to increase your chances of a full recovery, most patients must be evaluated and treated within 3 to 4.5 hours of symptom onset.
3. Stroke risk increases with age, but young adults, children, and even unborn babies can suffer a stroke. Along with age, there are several ways you can be at a higher risk of suffering a stroke. If one of your parents had an ischemic stroke before 65, you are 3 times more likely to suffer a stroke.
4. High blood pressure is the leading controllable risk factor for a stroke. 3 out of 4 people that suffer a stroke have high blood pressure.
5. Maintaining a healthy diet and by keeping physically active you can reduce your risk of stroke. According to the National Stroke Association, those who exercise 5 or more times per week have a reduced risk of stroke. Physical activity can be as little as 30 minutes a day, and can include moderate exercise such as walking.
6. Smoking and drinking are two other controllable risk factors. Drinking too much alcohol can increase blood pressure. While drinking in moderation is okay, the National Stroke Association suggests two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women. Smoking doubles the risk of a stroke. Smoking increases clot formation, thickens blood, and increases the amount of plaque buildup on arteries, all which increase your risk of a stroke.
7. When it comes to a stroke, every second counts! Nearly 2 million brain cells die each minute a stroke remains untreated.
What’s important to remember is that 80% of strokes are preventable. By talking with your regular doctor to keep blood pressure low and maintain healthy habits, you can decrease your chances of a stroke and live a longer healthier life.
Emily Lambright is a registered nurse and owner of Embrace Your Health Home Services in the Coldwater/Hillsdale who provides care to those that want to continue residing in their home but need some additional services and assistance. Additional services include diabetes care, health coaching and lifestyles management for chronic conditions and heart disease. For more information, call 517-439-4119.