Stroke is the 5th leading cause of death in the U.S. and a major cause of long-term disability.
It occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted or reduced,
depriving the brain of oxygen and causing brain tissue to die. The most
common type of stroke is
ischemic, which is caused by blockages or narrowing of the arteries.
Hemorrhagic stroke is caused by arteries in the brain either leaking blood or bursting open.
In the U.S., approximately 40% of stroke deaths occur in men, and 60% in
women. African-American individuals have nearly twice the risk of stroke
and a much higher death rate. These are sobering statistics, but the good
news is that 80% of strokes can be prevented. Even if a stroke occurs,
its damage can be minimized if the patient is treated quickly.
As a designated Primary Stroke Center, our hospital meets the highest standards
for treatment of stroke patients, including speed of care and innovative
procedures that prevent death and minimize brain damage.
Signs of Stroke
When a stroke occurs, time is of the essence. For this reason, everyone
should learn how to recognize the signs of stroke. One of the most effective
ways to do this is by memorizing the acronym F.A.S.T.
F = FACE: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of their 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 speech sound slurred
T = TIME: If you observe any of these signs (independently or together), call 911
Patients who have suffered a stroke sometimes report other symptoms, including:
- Sudden loss of balance
- Severe headache
- Paralysis of the face, arm or leg
- Changes in vision
Reduce Your Risk
You can reduce your risk of stroke by living a healthy lifestyle and getting
regular checkups with your physician. Certainly, if you have a family
history of stroke or cardiovascular disease, you should talk to your doctor
about preventive measures.
You can significantly reduce your risk of stroke if you:
- Eat a healthy diet
- Get regular exercise
- Don’t smoke
- Limit your alcohol intake
- Control your cholesterol and blood pressure levels