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What you need to know about a stroke

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Stroke is the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States, with approximately 795,000 people suffering stroke each year. However, did you know that studies have shown that up to 80 percent of strokes are preventable?

A stroke occurs when a blood clot or broken blood vessel interrupts blood flow to the brain, causing brain cells to die. A transient ischemic attack (TIA), or mini-stroke, happens when blood flow to the brain stops briefly and then resolves. While this generally does not cause permanent damage, a TIA can be a warning sign that a full stroke is coming. Other signs and symptoms of stroke include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or difficulty understanding speech.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or lack of coordination.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause. Continue Reading »

Spot a stroke F.A.S.T.

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May is Stroke Awareness Month. It’s a good time to educate yourself about the warning signs of a stroke and how you can help save lives and improve recovery by responding F.A.S.T.

Last year, many of the 795,000 Americans who suffered a stroke did not get the right lifesaving treatment in time. In an effort to help decrease that number, we want to help educate people about the signs and symptoms of a stroke. It’s easy to remember through the acronym F.A.S.T.

Face drooping – Does one side of the face droop, or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?

Arm weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

Speech difficultly – Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like, “The grass is green.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?

Time to call 9-1-1 – If any of these symptoms are shown, even if they appear to go away, call 9-1-1, and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you know when the first symptoms appeared.

Other symptoms to be aware of:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the leg
  • Sudden confusion or trouble understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or loss of coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

To learn more about the warning signs go to strokeassociation.org/warningsigns.

If you think you are at risk for a stroke, talk to your health care provider so they can work together with you to prevent or treat medical conditions that can lead to stroke.

Get Heart Healthy

heart foodHeart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. This includes heart attack, stroke and peripheral artery disease.

Most of the risk factors for heart disease can be prevented or treated with lifestyle changes and medication. Risk factors include:

  • Diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Dyslipidemia (high triglycerides and low HDL or “good” cholesterol)
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Heavy alcohol use

People with multiple risk factors are at higher risk for developing heart disease. Here are some steps you can take to decrease your risks. Continue Reading »

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