Often, family caregivers are reminded to care for their own health so that they can properly care for their loved ones. And, as primary caregivers, women should note that 55,000 more women than men have a stroke each year. Fortunately, stroke is one health concern that is highly preventable if risk is monitored and managed.
A stroke is a brain attack that occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery or a blood vessel breaks, interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain.
Stroke can be up to 80 percent preventable when risk is properly managed. The first step to preventing stroke is to understand what can lead to it. There are many risk factors. Some are controllable (smoking, drug and alcohol use) and others are uncontrollable (age, family history). High blood pressure is a leading cause of stroke and should be checked yearly.
Other controllable risk factors include high cholesterol, transient ischemic attack (TIA), diabetes, obesity and heart conditions such as atrial fibrillation. Ask your doctor for tips on managing your current health conditions to reduce your risk for stroke and visit National Stroke Association to learn more.
Additionally, women have 55,000 more strokes than men each year and African Americans have almost twice the risk of first ever strokes than whites.
There are many types of warning signs that indicate a person is having a stroke. Most people in the United States are unaware of the warning signs and how to respond by calling 9-1-1. Stroke should be treated as an emergency because there is a clot-buster treatment that can be given within the first three hours after symptoms start. Recognizing stroke symptoms can be easy if you remember to think FAST.
F= Face Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A=Arms Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S= Speech Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Does the speech sound slurred or strange?
T=Time If you observe any of these signs, then it’s time to call 9-1-1.
Learn more about National Stroke Awareness Month and the early-warning signs of stroke.
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