If you knew that 80% of a medical condition that is the leading cause of long term disability in the US was preventable, wouldn’t you want to bring attention to it? This May, that is our goal at The Woman’s Clinic. May is National Stroke Awareness Month, and we are bringing attention to strokes, talking about how to spot the symptoms, how to prevent them, how to treat them and how to manage recovery after suffering a stroke.
What Is A Stroke And Who Is At Risk?
A stroke occurs when a blood vessel responsible for delivering blood and oxygen to the brain gets blocked or ruptures. That lack of oxygen causes nerve cells to die, making the part of the body they control lose function. Sometimes this loss of function is permanent. While anyone can have a stroke, your risk of suffering from one nearly doubles every 10 years after the age of 55, and women are at a higher risk. Additionally, certain races or those with a family history of strokes are at a higher risk. Strokes are the leading cause of long-term disability in the US, as well as the number 5 cause of death.
What Are The Warning Signs Of A Stroke?
The American Stroke Association has an easy to remember acronym to help you pinpoint the signs of a stroke – F.A.S.T.
- F - Face drooping.
- A - Arm weakness.
- S - Speech difficulty.
- T - Time to call 911.
If you observe any of these signs in a friend or family member, call 911 so that they can receive attention and treatment as quickly as possible. Depending on the type of stroke, a quick trip to the hospital could make all the difference. The treatment for a stroke depends on the type, and can include removing blood clots or stopping bleeding. Most doctors will recommend therapy and rehabilitation to learn how to live with the effects of a stroke or to re-learn certain physical or social skills that may have been lost.
How Can I Prevent Having A Stroke?
High blood pressure is the leading cause of strokes and is something you should strive to lower in order to reduce your risk. Reducing your blood pressure can be manageable – you should eat a well balanced diet, limit alcohol, make sure you exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight. Going through these steps will also reduce the other risk factors of a stroke – high cholesterol, obesity, heart disease and other diseases of the arteries. Here at The Woman’s Clinic, we encourage all of our patients to keep up a healthy lifestyle. Preventing strokes isn’t the only benefit of that lifestyle, either. By keeping yourself healthy, you are more likely to avoid a host of other problems with long-term consequences and lead the best life you can. Don’t skip your annual exam - your doctor will cover stroke and heart disease risks that could save your life! Make your appointment today!