10 Ways To Reduce Your Risk For Stroke

Stroke is the third leading cause of death among Americans and the No. 1 cause of disability in adults. That’s the bad news. The good news is 80 percent of strokes are preventable.

What is stroke? Blood vessels that carry oxygen to the brain become blocked or burst. When the brain cannot get enough oxygen, cells begin to die, causing disability and sometimes death.

Who’s at risk? Anyone, at any age, can have a stroke. Certain factors, including being 55 and older and being male, put you at greater risk.

Here is how you can reduce your risk for stroke:
  1. Know your blood pressure. If high, work with your doctor to lower it.
  2. Find out form your doctor if you have atrial fibrillation.
  3. If you smoke, stop.
  4. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.
  5. Find out if you have high cholesterol. If so, work with your doctor to control it.
  6. If you are diabetic, follow your doctor’s recommendations carefully to control your diabetes.
  7. Include exercise in your daily routine.
  8. Enjoy a lower sodium (salt), lower fat diet.
  9. Ask your doctor how you can lower your risk of stroke.
  10. Know the symptoms of stroke:
    • 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 loss of coordination
    • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Stroke is medical emergency – every minute counts. Time lost is brain lost – act F.A.S.T!
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 sentence. Does the speech sound slurred 
                        or strange?
T=Time              If you observe any of these signs, it’s time to call 911 or get to the nearest hospital with a stroke center.

The Center for Neuroscience at Gwinnett Medical Center and Glancy Rehabilitation Center have teamed up to offer free stroke risk screenings in the community. The screenings are scheduled throughout the year in conjunction with community health fairs to increase awareness of stroke symptoms, risk factors and prevention.

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