The New York Times tells me that stroke is the third killer of people in America. I haven’t posted about stroke dangers, and I’d say now’s the time.
Stroke or “Brain Attack” occurs when blood circulation to your brain stops. Brain cells can die from decreased flow of blood. There are two kinds of stroke, ischemic stroke, where blood flow stops, and hemorrahagic stroke, caused by bleeding. Ischemic stroke is most common.
What can you do to prevent a stroke? Know the warning signs and get a handle on risk factors.
- Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
- Double vision, drowsiness, and nausea or vomiting.
The warning signs might last a few minutes and then stop. You may be inclined to ignore them, but don’t. The brief attacks may be TSA’s or transient ischemic attacks and precursors to a serious condition. (This is freaking me out cause these are the signs I get with migraines.)
Risk factors include:
- High blood pressure: People with hypertension have a risk for stroke four to six times higher than the risk for those without. Eat a balanced diet, maintain a healthy weight, and exercise to reduce blood pressure. Drugs are also available. (Prescription drugs.)
- Heart disease: The second most powerful risk factor for stroke is heart disease. See your doctor about treating this condition or prescribing medication to help prevent the formation of clots.
- Smoking: Seriously…would you quit already…
- Diabetes: Treatment can delay complications that increase the risk of stroke.
- High cholesterol: Reduce it.