Every 40 seconds in the United States, someone has a stroke. Just think, every 4 minutes, someone dies of a stroke…
Grim statistics…but, things have definitely changed over the past 30 years. And that is thanks to the widespread use of blood pressure and cholesterol medications.
Still, stroke remains the leading cause of disability in the US. Age makes us more susceptible to having a stroke, but a troubling statistic shows that it’s affecting greater numbers of younger people under the age of 65.
What’s even more troubling is that only about 30% of victims recognize the symptoms and get to the hospital in time to receive the brain-saving, clot-busting medication tPA.
So, let’s talk about the symptoms and signs of a stroke:
- BE FAST…this is the acronym from the American Heart Association.
- F is for Face – is there facial weakness?
- A is for Arm Weakness.
- S is for Speaking Difficulties or Slurred Speech.
- T is for Time to Call 911.
- BE was added by the Cleveland Clinic…B is for Balance Difficulties, and E is for Eyes (Some patients lose vision in one eye, or parts of their visual field are missing.
It has been stated that even when people know the symptoms of a stroke, they sometimes don’t recognize what’s happening in real time. This could be related to the fact that the brain has been compromised, so their thinking is affected. This one factor is the cause of people not getting the needed treatment under that 1 hour window.
I was amazed when I was researching this post, that 90% of all strokes are preventable. Here are a few examples of how everyone can work at preventing a stroke:
- Eating and maintaining a good diet. (I don’t mean eating at most fast food establishments).
- It was recommended one hour, 5 times a week. And folks, it has to be a decent level of activity – a light walk may not get your heart pumping. Try a fast walk or routine gym machines like a tread mill.
- Managing your hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol can substantially reduce your risk of having a stroke. The lower you can get your blood pressure, the better.
- This one is an eye opener for me; brushing your teeth helps. People with poor oral health are at a higher risk for both heart attack and stroke. A recent study found a link between a certain type of bacteria and hemorrhagic stroke. So keep up the brushing and flossing!
I’m hoping this introduction post regarding stroke prevention was helpful and will remind you about the importance of the acronym BE FAST.
Please feel free to join the dialogue. Stroke prevention is very important, and not just for those over 65. Any tips, suggestions or personal stories you might have are welcome.
As always, I am…the Boomer Explorer.